Heavy rainfall and flooding have killed dozens of people in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. A government statement late Tuesday evening local time said at least 59 people had been killed; many people are still missing. Mudslides collapsed buildings and roads and flooding inundated and isolated multiple power stations. More than 900 cell phone towers are down and operations at the country’s main port in Durban were suspended. Extreme precipitation is one of clearest signals of climate change; warmer air holds, and can thus dump, more moisture. A recent analysis by World Weather Attribution also found climate change worsened three cyclones that hit the region earlier this year.
“We know it’s climate change getting worse,” Mary Galvin, a professor at the University of Johannesburg, told AFP. “It’s moved from 2017 with extreme storms to supposedly having record floods in 2019, and now 2022 clearly exceeding that.” (CNN, AFP, AP, Reuters, BBC, New York Times $, Weather Channel; Port operations: Bloomberg $; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase)