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Drought-stricken Cape Town braces for wet, windy cold front

A cold front is expected to hit Cape Town. The City of Cape Town said its services and external agencies are on standby after a warning was issued by the South African Weather Service for high rainfall, gale-force winds and possible snowfall on Wednesday and Thursday.

An intense cold front is expected to affect the Western and Northern Cape. Heavy rains leading to flooding, gale-force coastal and interior winds, snowfall, storm surges and high sea conditions are forecast.

According to the notice, heavy rain – 50 mm in a 24-hour period – is possible over the western parts of the Western Cape on Wednesday, the city said in a statement on Monday.

The highest rainfall is expected over the western mountainous areas, while further showers are expected in the west overnight on Wednesday, and into Thursday.

The cold front may also lead to snowfalls over high-lying regions of the western half of the Western Cape and the southern high ground of the Northern Cape. Snowfall is possible during Wednesday afternoon or evening, but the majority of snowfall is expected on Thursday.

There were chances of some disruption as a result of these snowfalls, the statement reads.

“The intense cold front at the surface will cause gale-force winds (65–90 km/h) along the south-western coast on Wednesday, spreading to the southern coastline on Thursday. Gale-force winds can also be expected over the southern interior of the Northern Cape and most of the Western Cape interior where winds could reach 65–80 km/h.

Sea state

“The effects of the weather system are also to be seen in the sea state, with high to very high seas and wave heights greater than 6m–8m expected south of Alexander Bay from Wednesday afternoon and reaching 9m–12m between Lamberts Bay and Cape Agulhas, spreading along the south coast by Thursday.

“These waves will also have high energy with the long wave period which will very likely cause storm surges and damage to the coastal regions all along the west and south-west coast and, to a lesser degree, the south coast due to the orientation of the bays and the westerly to south-westerly swell and wind conditions.”

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, JP Smith, said all relevant agencies were on standby to deal with consequences of the severe weather.

“This includes clearing away uprooted trees, attending to other infrastructure, like roadways affected by strong winds or potential flooding, and dealing with any potential power disruptions. The city will also make emergency shelter and associated humanitarian relief available in the event that any people are displaced as a result of the frontal system,” he said.

The city advised residents to reduce the risk of flooding by ensuring drainage pipes on properties were not blocked and that stormwater gutters around properties were free from debris.

Report any emergency incidents to the Public Emergency Communication on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.





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