Cape Town - Rumours that a 'natural disaster' is heading for Cape Town have been circulating. Here's what you need to know about cold front expected to hit the Western Cape from Tuesday evening according to the South African Weather Service.
Among the key concerns are flash floods and strong gale force winds in some areas, with Wednesday expected to hold the brunt of the storm and subsequently being labelled #DikWednesday.
All schools in the Western Cape will be closed on Wednesday 7 June following repeated warnings of adverse weather conditions in the province.
In a statement on Tuesday 6 June, Western Cape education department head Brian Schreuder says the unprecedented decision was taken in the best interests of pupil and teacher safety.
"The storm may damage some schools, which could place learners and staff at risk, as well as those who commute to school, especially in rural areas," he says. The school programme is expected to return to normal on Thursday. Read News24's full report here.
The Western Cape have issued a statement to confirm Disaster risk management teams and emergency services have been placed on full alert as the cold front is expected to make an impact on Tuesday evening.
Rainfall of 50 milimetres were expected over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, 7 June.
ALSO SEE: Cape Town prepares for mudslides, flash floods, gale force winds
"Members of the public are advised that heavy rain can be expected particularly in the Peninsula. In addition extensive gale force winds, very high seas and cold weather conditions including snow on the high-lying areas can be expected.
“Some of the other associated risks during bad weather like this also includes mudslides and informal settlement fires. In the Central Karoo region we had a fatality a short while ago following heavy rains in the area. We want to advise the public to use extreme caution when traveling in the Western Cape or if exposed to the weather over the next few days.”
"Provincial as well as Municipal Disaster Management Centres remain fully operational with officials on standby 24/7. These centres can be activated immediately should the need arise."
According to the latest update, the cold front is on track and will cause gale force winds along the south-west coast by Tuesday evening.
Risk of Flash floods, water shortage hardly solved
SEE: Weather Update: Grab your buckets Cape Town, heavy winter storm on the way
Sampson says that while some showers are expected along the south coast, most of the rain will impact the Western Cape and not much can be expected over the Eastern Cape.
"This system is therefore significant due to the strong winds that many areas will experience and a sudden drop in temperatures on Thursday and Friday."
SEE: ALERT: Water crisis critical, investigating emergency desalination option - City of Cape Town
"Ahead of this cold front, warm Berg wind conditions can be expected on Tuesday, 6 June with hot conditions along the south coast," says Sampson.
"This system is expected to bring very strong interior winds on Wednesday, 7 June possibly reaching gale force in places in the western and northern interior.
By the early hours of Thursday morning we might see some light snow on the Sneeuberg (Graaff-Reinet) through to the southern Drakensberg (Barkley East/Elliot area).
Gale force Westerly winds can be expected along the south coast on Thursday with gusts of up to 100km/h possible in places.
SEE: Caught in heavy rain? Here's what SA motorists should do
Additional alert and advisories in place ahead of this weekend :
Warning: On Tuesday, extremely high fire danger conditions are expected over the western interior of the Eastern Cape.
- Thursday through to Wednesday, strong NW'ly winds are expected over the interior, possibly reaching gale force over the western and northern interior on Wednesday.
- Gale force W'ly winds are expected along the south coast on Thursday, spreading toward East London.
- High seas with wave heights from 6 to 9m, along the south coast expected on Thursday
- How Can I Prepare for a Flood?
Identify the risk in your local area.
Prepare a home emergency plan, and identify risks around your home.
Remove leaves (from downpipes or gutters) or any other items that can increase the risk of flooding in your area.
Have an evacuation plan. Everyone in your family has to know where to go to find shelter.
Prepare an emergency toolkit. This should include a first aid kit, torch and portable radio with batteries, candles and waterproof matches, drinking water, a multi-tool, whistle and emergency contact numbers.
What Should I do during a flooding?
Monitor current flood warnings. Listen to the radio for emergency warnings, evacuation advice and weather updates.
Avoid entering floodwater unless it is necessary, and never underestimate the strength of floodwater, even if you are inside a vehicle.
Follow all instructions from emergency authorities.
Turn off all electricity and water and take your cellphone with you.
Assist elderly and disabled neighbours.
What Should I do after the flood?
- Before entering your house, wait until the water has dropped below floor level.
Check with electricity and water authorities to know whether it is safe for you to use these resources.
Be aware of contamination if water sources have been flooded; this could be unsafe to drink.
In addition – JUST IN –WC average dam level currently 17.6%.
- NEVER drive into water covering the road. You do not know how deep it is or if the road is washed away.
- Turn around and go the other way!
- Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges and low areas.
- If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Be cautious, especially at night when visibility is impaired.
- Do not park your vehicle along streams, particularly during threatening conditions.
What to do during a major storm with gale force winds:
- - Disconnect appliances
- Stay inside well clear of windows, sheltering in the strongest part of the house (internal hallway, bathroom or cellar)
- Keep an emergency kit with you that includes things like first aid supplies, torch, battery operated portable radio, important documents and medicines.
- If possible stay in secure shelter
-Avoid driving by road as far as possible, stay in your vehicle if caught on the road, with the car handbrake on and parked well clear of trees, powerlines and possible flooding
- Never drive, ride or walk in floodwaters
-Fill buckets, sinks and baths with water in case the water supply becomes restricted.
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
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