Warren Fortune, Zodidi Dano and Ilse Fredericks
Cape Town -
Thursday will probably be the coldest day of the year in Cape Town so far, with a maximum temperature of just 13°C and a minimum of 8°C.
The South African Weather Services (SAWS) said the cold weather would continue until Sunday, with temperatures not exceeding 16°C.
Temperatures in the mid to low teens are expected to today for the entire province.
Snow is expected on the western high lying areas of the province on Thursday. Rough seas are expected to continue until the weekend.
On Thursday morning Snow Report SA tweeted that snow had fallen in Ceres, Robertson, Matroosberg, and Theronsberg in the Western Cape and Sutherland in the Northern Cape.
The SAWS predicted that Sutherland, one of the coldest towns in South Africa, would reach a maximum temperature of only five degrees Celsius on Thursday.
On Wednesday a dramatic sea rescue, damage to schools, minor flooding and traffic and train delays across Cape Town punctuated the first cold snap of winter.
A Filipino crewman was airlifted to shore after injuring his arm on a bulk carrier in heavy swells caused by strong north-westerly winds, said NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.
The man fell on the vessel, which was lying off Table Bay, early on Wednesday.
“He dislocated or fractured his arm.”
He was flown to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital helipad and then taken to Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.
He was in a stable condition.
Five schools in the Overberg reported high levels of absenteeism on Wednesday, while “high-wind speeds” caused damage to school buildings in the region.
Western Cape education spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said that among other damage, roof sheets had been blown off and windows broken.
Some schools had reported that roofs were leaking.
In the city, peak morning traffic was gridlocked.
City traffic services spokeswoman Maxine Jordaan said because of flooding on the N1 at the Koeberg Interchange and parts of the N2, traffic was bumper to bumper.
“There were also a number of minor accidents due to drivers not maintaining safe following distances.”
There were a number of reports of flooding in Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Philippi.
Although the extent of the flooding was not deemed serious by authorities, Disaster Risk Management’s Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said teams were on alert.
At the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi, resident Rebecca Lubinda said she had to spend the night at a neighbour’s home because of leaks over her bed. Her carpet was soaked in the overnight deluge.
“I have to put 25 buckets on the floor to prevent the water from flooding my shack.”
On top of her cupboard was a tub half-filled with water, collected during Tuesday night’s downpour.
“Every now and then I have to empty these buckets and replace them again. It is a mission, but I don’t have a choice.”
Lubinda says she has lived in Kosovo for seven years and winters are a nightmare. “If only I had the money and power to fix my shack, or better yet, move elsewhere, I would do it, but I’m unemployed and live off donations.”
In the Breede River Valley, two shacks in Rawsonville were flooded.
Agri Wes-Cape spokesman Carl Opperman said farmers had not experienced floods yet, but were taking precautions.
“Farmers are not taking the rains lightly and have begun finding alternative shelter for the livestock, which will protect them from potential flooding,” he said.
“Water pumps are being taken out of rivers for fear of their being washed away.
“We will also make sure that those people staying in homes that could be affected by floods are safe.”
Asked if farmers had a plan in place after the Laingsburg floods cut off a number of farms in January, Opperman said: “If you remember what happened in Laingsburg, we had to assist farmers by using choppers to fly them out.
“We did the same thing when we had heavy snowfalls.
“There is not much else we can do; if you are a farmer these things can be expected.”
Cape Argus and Sapa