#CapeTownStorm: Tips for dealing with extreme weather

2017-06-07 15:08 - Ishani Chetty
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Cape Town - The #CapeTownStorm hit in the late hours of 6 June, with increasing wind speeds and heavy rainfall expected throughout the day.

Cape Town is expected to see a downpour, and with the drought that the city is currently experiencing, it is a joyous yet cautious occasion. 

News24 has already confirmed five confirmed fatalities as a result of the storm. Four of these people have been killed in a fire caused by lightning on Wednesday as the massive storm raged in the Western Cape, while a 60-year-old man was killed when a home collapsed on him in Lavender Hill.

LIVE: Updates on #CapeTownstorm on News24 

These extreme weather conditions call for certain measures to be put in place to ensure safety.

The storm rages on: roofs torn down, roads closed 

Rainfall of 50 milimetres has been forecast for the next 24-hour period on Wednesday, 7 June, as well as gale to strong gale force north-westerly winds of 60 to 90 km/h over the Western Cape, Northern Cape and western parts of the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, moderating on Thursday afternoon.

This has affected certain roads with severe flooding and uprooting of trees - with motorists advised to only travel if absolutely necessary. See the full story here.

SA Weather Service forecaster Kate Turner says, "Currently the weather is on track, the cold front has moved over the Western Cape as can be felt by the strong wind and rain.

Turner says, "The rain is expected to continue throughout the day with the bulk of the rain expected over the south-western highlands mainly affecting the Cape Winelands."

SEE: Four SA airports on alert for massive Cape storm, anticipated knock-on delays - Acsa

SA Weather Service spokesperson Garth Sampson says the cold front will move over the southern western parts of the country on Wednesday, and will "sweep over the Eastern Cape on Thursday 8 June, with gale force winds expected between Plettenberg Bay and Port Alfred". By Friday 9 June it "will clear gradually from the west".

SEE:  13 Weather driving tips if you head out on the road today

Southern parts of Gauteng is expected to be extremely cold and get frost from Thursday night into Friday. This type of frost, according to Gauteng Weather, causes "severe freezing that blackens growing plants without visible frost".

There are also reports of hail in some parts of Cape Town.

Due to the adverse conditions expected, the city is on high alert. Disaster Risk Management has been put in place to ensure that individuals are provided with relief. There is much focus on ensuring that the rural community is safe during this time. The outcomes of the rainfall can lead to damage in the Cape.

SEE: Western Cape 'prepares for the worst' as major storm approaches

As many members of the public take to social media, it is reported that many roads have closed down due to the increased winds making it dangerous for drivers to be on the road. Veld fires have also begun to spread around the Western Cape.



How to be prepared for severe weather

The outcomes of the storm are said to be inclusive of hail, snow, flooding and severe thunderstorms along with lightning. In order to best prepare yourself for the storm here are some handy tips on how to keep safe.

Hail and snow prone areas 

Shelter: 

- Ensure that there is reinforcing structures surrounding your house. 

- Stay indoors during hail or snow storms.

Driving: 

- Seek cover immediately if rain or snow occurs while on the road - moving your vehicle under a protected area.

- Ensure that thick blankets are placed in your car to protect the bonnet from hail damage. 

- Be vigilant! Poor visibility on the roads can cause accidents, be cautious when pulling over and place hazards on. 

Flood prone areas 

For those who live along the coast and close to the ocean it is important to prepare. 

Shelter: 

- Place sandbags against door ways and lower level vent areas during flooding as this can reduce the level of water entering your home 

- Get to the highest level possible in your home.

- Move valuable items higher - ensure no damage.  

- Electricity and gas must be shut off during flooding. 

Driving: 

- Do not enter the roads if there is a flood. 

- Water levels higher than the bottom car door - do not drive. 

- Trapped in the vehicle during flood - leave the vehicle to get to safety. 

- Drive slow in flood conditions - do not accelerate. 

Flash Floods 

- AVOID: crossing bridges or roads near rivers as prone area for flash flood. 

Severe wind , thunderstorms and lightening strikes 

Shelter: 

-  Ensure that any dead or rotting tree branches are removed to prevent risk of falling debris. 

-  Clear roofs and gutters to ensure water flow. 

-  Store outdoor furniture away 

-  Unplug electrical devices before the storm hits to prevent an electrical surge. 

Driving: 

- Poor visibility - ensure that you pull over on the side of the road with hazards on.

- Do not take shelter under trees - risk of tree debris falling.

Important Emergency contact numbers:

  • City of Cape Town: 107 landline or 021 480 7700
  • Police Flying Squad: 10111
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • City of Cape Town General Emergency: 107
  • Cellphone Emergency: 112 (MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom)
  • Red Cross Children's Hospital Poison Line & the Tygerberg Hospital Poison Information Centre: 0861 555 777
  • Safe Schools: 0800 45 46 47
  • Western Cape Government: 0860 142 142
  • Sea Rescue: 021 449 3500
  • Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
  • Disaster Management: 080 911 4357
  • Eden District:  044 805 5071
  • Central Karoo:  023 414 2603
  • West Coast: 022 433 8700
  • Overberg: 028 271 8111

People are urged to be cautious and vigilant during this time. 

What to read next on Traveller24: 

- Four SA airports on alert for massive Cape storm, anticipated know-on delays, Acsa

- ALERT Here's what you needs to know about #DikWednesday storm headed for SA. 

- ALERT: Roads affected by #Capestorm flooding