Cape Town – Due to an intense cold front, Western Cape residents should brace themselves for extreme weather conditions from Friday, with the welcome news that it could push Cape Town dam levels over the 50% mark.
According to the South African Weather Service, strong westerly to north-westerly winds (40-60 km/h) can be expected from the morning onwards over the entire Western Cape ahead of the arrival of the cold front.
Rain is expected from 2pm onwards on Friday. Fuelled by gale-force winds (60-75 km/h, gusting 80-100 km/h) expected over the Central Karoo, Breede River Valley districts and the Cape Peninsula, heavy downpours can be expected by 10pm. Gale-force winds are also anticipated along the coast between Table Bay and Plettenberg Bay.
According to the weather forecast, the chances of flash floods are reasonably high due to 15mm being expected to fall within a three-hour period on the perimeter of the Cape Town municipality on Friday.
A total of 40mm of rain is set to bucket down on Stellenbosch and 12mm in Cape Town, with light showers predicted through the rest of Saturday from the early morning.
Informal settlements on the Cape Flats and the Overberg District are likely to be among the areas most vulnerable to flooding.
High seas (exceeding 6m) are expected to reach the south-western coastline of the Cape by Friday evening. Snowfalls are also likely over the southern mountains of the Western Cape on Friday night to Saturday morning.
Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell confirmed that the province is expecting heavy rain, strong, damaging winds and potentially flash floods in some areas.
“While we welcome the expected rain, we are concerned about the impact of a big storm and we want to caution the public to be cautious over the next few days when moving around outdoors.”
Bredell says all municipalities in the province have already been alerted. In addition Disaster Management and fire and rescue services have also been alerted and will be on standby to assist communities negatively affected by the storm.
“The Provincial Disaster Management Centre will be meeting tomorrow morning to assess the situation. We will provide further updates following that meeting.
"Some good news is the fact that it is school holidays at the moment, which means traffic volumes will be less tomorrow.”
Bredell has called on the public to contact the relevant disaster management entities as quickly as possible should an emergency occur.
He has also called on communities to co-operate with local authorities and emergency response personnel in the event of any emergency.
“The easiest number to remember to call in an emergency is 112. This number can be dialled toll-free from any cell phone.”
In the case of an emergency, other relevant numbers to call are: City of Cape Town 107 landline or 021 480 7700; Cape Winelands: Langeberg Municipality 0860 88 1111; Eden District 044 805 5071; Central Karoo 023 414 2603; West Coast 022 433 8700; and Overberg 028 271 8111.
Meanwhile, dams that supply Cape Town have steadily increased in capacity for two weeks in a row, rising by 0.7% in the past week.
Their levels are now at just under half of capacity (48.7%)‚ while the city’s water consumption for the past week rose by 19 million litres a day to 542 million litres.
However, the city remains within its daily consumption allocation of 650 million litres a day.