Ricochet News

'It's fake news, no 1000mm of rain expected over Eastern Cape'

Sep 6, 2018
'It's fake news, no 1000mm of rain expected over Eastern Cape'

The Port Elizabeth office of the South African Weather Office on Thursday said that a message that is being circulated on social media that Port Elizabeth and large areas of the Eastern Cape will receive 1 000mm is fake news!

The message that was circulated mostly via WhatsApp read: News alert: There is a big storm coming. It is going to strike the eastern cape like never before.try to stay off roads between tomorrow 01:00-24-00. A severe rain storm that is going to bring 1000mm as expected. Stay away fom the beach and areas close to rivers.

"Please note that according the Weather Service act, it is illegal to issue or distribute false warnings," Garth Sampson, Client Liaison Officer for the Eastern Cape at the South African Weather Service.

"The South African Weather Service is the ONLY organization legislated to issue weather warnings.

"Not only does it tarnish the organizations professional reputation, but it also it causes panic amongst the general population. Emergency services are also unnecessarily put on standby."

Sampson said that the message also gives rise to the 'cry wolf scenario'.

"So, when there is a REAL warning, people do not take the necessary action to prevent/minimise the effects of a disaster," he added.

"PLEASE only distribute OFFICIAL warnings from the official South African Weather Service website, Facebook page or officially communicated e-mails.

"Warnings issued on the radio and stated as being supplied by South African Weather Service are thus official."

He added that official press release from the South African Weather Service head office, containing all the warnings will be forwarded shortly.