A “storm warning” message has been circulating on WhatsApp, claiming that “the department of meteorology in South Africa has issued a statement confirming the storm (Dineo) will be hitting South Africa, Johannesburg and Jhb south as of tonight”.
It further described potential damage to property that could be caused by the wind, “heavy rain” and “heavy floodings”, and advised people to seek shelter, “suspend all planned trips” and “not be found working after hours”.
Africa Check contacted the South African Weather Service, which dismissed the claim as “100% a hoax”. Forecaster Victoria Nurse told us the storm was still affecting Eastern Mpumalanga and Limpopo, but insisted it was not as serious as claimed.
“It is not coming even near Gauteng,” she added, inviting us to “please ignore [the warning message]”.
The SA Weather Service also disclaimed the warning on their Twitter account.
Rumor going the rounds about severe weather heading to Gauteng is NOT true. NO severe weather expected in Gauteng.
— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) February 17, 2017
Furthermore, except for the call centre of the South African police, the numbers provided at the end of the message do not lead to emergency departments in South Africa. They appear to be emergency numbers for Swaziland: in case of fire (933), medical emergencies (977) and 800 9000 to reach the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC).
And in case that you are still not convinced – South Africa does not even have a governmental “department of meteorology”. – Julie Bourdin
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