Eastern Cape authorities were busy putting contingency plans in place to help those affected by heavy rainfall in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the municipality said on Sunday.

Spokesman Kupido Baron said a Joint Operations Centre (JOC), responsible for monitoring the area, had been set up as more rain was expected on Sunday.

“The JOC, consisting of disaster management, safety and security divisions and different departments of the municipality, is currently dealing with different reports received, as much-needed rain is pouring down.”

The metro had been facing a water shortage, after being declared a drought disaster area.

“Residents are requested to avoid lower-lying areas.”

Several people in informal settlements in low-lying areas had to be evacuated in the Motherwell and Despatch areas since rains began on Saturday. A number of roads were also under water.

The SA Weather Service issued a warning as early as Wednesday.

Forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng said since rain began falling on Saturday, some areas recorded over 100 millimetres.

Gale force winds and rough seas were also expected at Cape Point and Port Elizabeth.

The system began along the Cape South Coast, and moved to the Western Cape, before heading to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

Although it had weakened overnight, additional downpours were expected on Sunday evening. Rain was then expected to move to the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, the Mpumalanga escarpment and Limpopo.

“These areas can expect a light drizzle,” he said.

Meanwhile the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said emergency and response teams were on high alert in the Bitou Municipality and Plettenberg Bay areas.

“Some residents have been cut off from roads by rising waters,” NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

“Heavy seas are expected this afternoon into tomorrow (Monday) with gale force winds prevailing between Cape Point and Plettenberg Bay resulting in an urgent safety warning to boaters and residents at low-lying areas.”

Keurbooms River, Piesangs River, Palmiet River, Bitou River and Bitou catchment areas had stabilised, Lambinon said. - Sapa