Rain and flooding have been predicted for the western parts of South Africa as a cold front is set to hit on Friday.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) warned of rain, leading to localised flooding.
“Heavy rainfall leading to localised flooding is expected over the south-western Cape Winelands, western Overberg and Cape Metropole (informal settlements) on Friday.”
In the City of Cape Town, the disaster management department has already begun preparations for the anticipated downpour.
Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said on Thursday: “We have been advised by the weather service that we can expect heavy downfalls of rain. Our preparations are in place and we know that our informal settlements are our most vulnerable populations.”
She said the agency was coordinating with roleplayers, including the SA Social Security Agency and City of Cape Town officials, to open community halls to house people should the need for accommodation arise.
“If there’s a need to activate the disaster coordinating team, we will do so if the incident is really bad.”
The current rainfall is in line with the SAWS Seasonal Climate Watch August to December 2019 model, which predicts above-normal rainfall conditions over the winter rainfall regions of the western parts of SA.
Despite the perception of higher rainfall, the SAWS Assessment of Rainfall July 2019 to September 2019 shows slightly lower than average rainfall for most parts of the country.
For the Western Cape in particular, the assessment reports lower than average rainfall for September 2019.
In October 2017, the western parts of the Western Cape received around 50mm of rain; in 2018, the number was significantly lower at around 25mm. Data for 2019 is not yet available.
Ahead of the cold front, strong winds are predicted for the Northern Cape.
“Strong north-westerly winds (50km/h to 55km/h) are expected over the Central Karoo District (Western Cape) and Karoo Hoogland municipality (Northern Cape) on Friday,” the SAWS warned.
The SAWS also issued warnings for veld fire conditions for large parts of the Northern Cape, the North West, the Free State and the northern parts of the Eastern Cape.
Dams in the Western Cape are 64.3% full, compared to 65.9% in 2018.