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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Chilly days ahead as South African Weather Services warn of cold fronts

The City of Cape Town has warned of approaching cold fronts which will bring flooding of roads and formal/informal settlements Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

The City of Cape Town has warned of approaching cold fronts which will bring flooding of roads and formal/informal settlements Picture: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 10, 2022

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Cape Town - The South African Weather Services is warning of potential flooding and damage to infrastructure in low lying areas after a series of intense cold fronts was detected.

According to the weather services, cold fronts, strong north-westerly winds with speeds between 50-60km/h gusting up to 80km/h are expected over southern Namakwa, the Western Cape Winelands, Central Karoo, northern parts of Garden Route districts, including the City of Cape Town from Sunday until Tuesday.

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Seni​or forecaster Henning Grobler said that the intense cold fronts are expected to make landfall, resulting in high rainfall amounts that may pose a threat to formal/informal settlements.

“Rainfall accumulations are expected to reach 50-80mm in Cape Metropole, Western Cape Winelands, and western Overberg mountainous areas between Monday and Wednesday.

“Flooding of roads and formal/informal settlements is possible, along with damage to property, infrastructure, loss of livelihood and livestock, as well as disruption to essential services. Major disruption of traffic flow due to major roads being flooded or closed is likely. Some communities could temporarily not be accessible.

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“Damage to formal/informal settlements and some structural damage is possible. Fallen trees may affect transport routes, properties, and localised power and communication interruption. Due to dust, visibility may be reduced on the road. Some transport routes and travel services were affected, and high-sided vehicles due to crosswind on exposed high-level roads by wind. Flying debris may also cause injuries,” warned Grobler.

Following the forecast, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said that he is deeply concerned that this will have an effect on the possibility of wildfires.

“We are also concerned about the possibility of wildfires, as we have had to deal with two large fires in Milnerton and in Somerset West, respectively, this past week. The strong winds preceding the rains, together with dry veld conditions, are increasing the risk for fires. Be as responsible with fire as you would be during the summer,” said Bredell.

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With anyone planning on being outdoor, Managing Director of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) Wahida Parker warns that weather conditions on the mountain might be significantly different from the weather experienced in the city bowl.

“Weather conditions on the mountain might be a lot colder or even much windier by the time you summit.

“Therefore, we want visitors to enjoy our beautiful mountain safely, and we want their memories of the visit to be a wonderful recollection. These past few days have been warm and sunny, and we noticed a definite increase in numbers of people making use of the kind of weather conditions that we’re not exactly used to this time of year. Hence, we want people to be aware of the extreme weather that might soon be arriving and to keep it in mind if they are planning a trip up the mountain.

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“Please dress warmly and wear enough layers of clothing to ensure you stay warm and dry. If you are hiking, travel in a group and wear suitable shoes that can manage the slippery surface. Whilst it may be cold, do not neglect hydration,” said Parker.

A warning siren at the top cableway station will alert any visitors of a change in weather conditions, and Parker urges the public to heed this warning.

“This signal should prompt visitors to make their way to the top station immediately, as transporting visitors and our staff swiftly under these circumstances is paramount. If we need to suspend operations because of adverse weather, we have measures in place to accommodate visitors whilst we wait for the weather to clear up,” said Parker.

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