Cape Town – Roofs were blown off houses in parts of Cape Town, trees uprooted, roads forced to close and electricity to various areas cut off as the monster storm coming in off the Atlantic coast hit the Mother City overnight.
James-Brent Styan, spokesman for Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell, said the storm predicted by the South African Weather Service (SAWS) hit the Western Cape at approximately 11pm on Tuesday night.
“The good news is that across the province to date, we have had no reports of fatalities or serious injuries, although some evacuations have been made and a handful of injured citizens taken to hospital by Emergency Services,”he said.
“The injuries was caused by roof collapses.”
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre (WCDMC) was activated at the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre at Tygerberg Hospital ahead of the storm “to maximise the protection of the public’s health and welfare and protect critical infrastructure”.
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Styan said heavy wind and rain hit the West Coast of the province and progressed eastwards during the course of Tuesday night, resulting in some damage across the province.
“This took the form of fallen trees, buildings losing their roofs, electricity outages and road closures.”
The N2 between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna had been closed due to fires that broke out in the Eden District due to pre-storm conditions with warm and strong wind blowing in the region. Styan said concerns remained around these fires as there was very little rain predicted for this region.
“The ocean swell remains a cause for concern, with huge swells expected this afternoon with a peak touching on 13 metres in some areas. This may cause damage to low-lying areas close to the ocean. The public is cautioned to stay away from Western Cape beaches throughout the day.
“Communities staying along the coastline are recommended to continue taking precautions, especially during the afternoon and evening. In addition, the public is cautioned to avoid dams, rivers and desist from outdoors activities including hiking throughout the day.
“Average wind speeds between 55 and 70 km/h and gusts of between 80 and 90km/h were recorded throughout the evening,” Styan added. “Some of the more notable rainfall figures include, 45mm recorded in Grabouw.”
Tugs were put on standby by Transnet Port Authority to provide assistance in towing and holding boats in position in and out of port should the need arise.
More than a million Western Cape learners remained at home across the province on Wednesday following a decision by authorities on Tuesday to suspend schooling for the day.
The Western Cape and parts of the Northern Cape are set to be battered by the storm which is expected to be at its strongest during the course of Wednesday.
Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for the Disaster Risk Management Centre, said: “At this stage we can report that 15 people are displaced in Imizamo Yethu due to their dwellings/roofs blown away.
Five people are staying at a school in Maitland as their dwelling was compromised. (Royal Road informal settlement).” The City also reported trees uprooted in Durbanville, Delft, Plattekloof and Plumstead, where a tree landed on a block of flats but luckily no one was injured.
Cape Town’s famous Chapman’s Peak Drive was also closed due to the storm. Electricity cables were down in Athlone, Weltevreden Valley, Pelican Park, Schaapkraal, Goodwood, Boston and Parow Valley, while there were road closures at Main Road and Chestnut in Hout Bay due to an uprooted tree. Electricity was also reportedly out in Woodstock and areas of Mitchells Plain.
JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety, security, and social services, had earlier cautioned residents alsong the Cape coastline to take extra precautions.
“We recommend that the public stay away from the coastline tomorrow, including the Sea Point Promenade. Residents of areas right at the coast such as Bakoven, Camps Bay Main Road, Slangkop, Kommetjie, Small and Big Bay in Blouberg, Melkbosstrand, Strand etc. might want to consider moving their cars to higher ground if they can. It is key that the general public stays away from the coastal areas for their own safety.”
African News Agency