WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Adding to the Covid-19 blues, the South African Weather Service has announced that winter is hitting the Western Cape in full force today.
Disaster services have been placed on alert and residents have been warned to prepare themselves for heavy rain, strong winds and snow.
Mountains in the Little Karoo may receive snowfall from tonight, Monday 25 May, into Tuesday, according to a warning by the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said that disruptive snowfalls leading to temporary closure of mountain passes can be expected in the Cape Winelands District tonight and is exepcted to spread to the Little Karoo mountains.
Large parts of the Western Cape will experience severe adverse weather conditions, starting late this evening. Heavy rain and localised flooding can be expected in Cape Town, Overberg and Cape Winelands.
Gale force winds and high seas with wave heights up to 9m between Cape Columbine and Plettenberg Bay are also expected from this morning (Monday 25 May), subsiding by early Tuesday morning. The winds are expected to move into the Central Karoo region by Tuesday.
The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell says the predictions indicate that winter has arrived in the Western Cape.
“While we welcome the wet weather given our drought situation, the concern is that the conditions may cause further challenges during this time of lockdown. We want to urge the public to take extra precautions and to contact the emergency services in the event of any emergency.”
Dial 112 for emergencies
“Provincial as well as Municipal Disaster Management Centres are already activated for the ongoing COVID-19 situation and will remain fully operational. The easiest number to remember to call in an emergency is 112. This number can be dialled toll-free from any cell phone. We are also calling on communities to cooperate with local authorities and emergency response personnel in the event of any emergency.”
In case of emergency, other relevant numbers to call are:
- Cape Winelands Municipality: 021 888 5837
- Eden District: 044 805 5071
- Central Karoo: 023 414 2603
- West Coast: 022 433 8700
- Overberg: 028 271 8111
- City of Cape Town: 107 landline or 021 480 7700
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 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.
Further tips provided by the SAWS:
- (When moving around outdoors) dress in warm brightly coloured wet weather clothing.
- If caught unawares by strong wind, barricade windows with wooded panels or strips (or furniture if needs be).
- If ordered to evacuate do so immediately and in an orderly fashion. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from disaster management officers.
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