Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
4 minute read
5 May 2021
1:12 pm

Hold on to your hats! Showers, heavy winds and flooding heading to WC

Reitumetse Makwea

The South African Weather Service said widespread showers, thundershowers and heavy winds are expected in parts of the Western Cape from Wednesday evening.

Picture: Jacques Nelles

The SA Weather Service (Saws) has issued a warning of strong to gale force winds, rain and rough seas especially in the southern parts of Western Cape from this evening going into Thursday and hopefully clearing up on Friday.

Weather service forecaster Kgolofelo Mahlangu said residents should gear up and prepare for possible localised flooding.

“Residents in parts of the Western Cape can expect adverse weather conditions from Wednesday evening – with strong wind, heavy rain and possible localised flooding,” Mahlangu said.

“Significant rainfall is be expected for the Overberg and Garden Route districts when an intense cold front makes landfall in the Western Cape in the afternoon.”

Mahlangu also said for the next few days Saws expects a cut-off low which is an upper air system that will result in adverse weather conditions.

Saws has issued a number of warnings relating to rain and flooding and said a cut off is expected to affect the Western Cape from 5 May into the next day resulting in widespread thundershowers.

“These winds are likely to result in steep waves reaching heights of 4-5.5 metres at times. Vessels may therefore experience difficulty in safe navigation,” the weather service said in a statement.

“Furthermore, Saws advises there will be an increased risk associated with coastal activities such as rock angling and general beach use.”

Santam advises Cape Town residents to gear up for adverse weather conditions

Insurance company Santam has urged Cape Town residents to be careful and vigilant over the next few days due to the severe weather conditions predicted for the city.

In a statement, Santam personal lines underwriting manager Marius Neethling said: “Being as prepared as possible, especially as we get ready for further winter rainfall, will help prevent flooding damaging your property or even decreasing the risk of a flood-related car accident.”

ALSO READ: Much of the country to feel the pinch as cold front sweeps through SA

Santam has offered the following tips to motorists and homeowners ahead of the expected heavy rains this week:

Precautions for motorists:  

  • Avoid areas and traffic routes where flooding has been reported.
  • Monitor local weather and traffic reports and plan your route accordingly to avoid areas where severe weather (high winds, storm sea surge and potential flooding) can be expected.
  • Reduce driving speed in rainy conditions and increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Be alert and aware of the road conditions in front of you.
  • Be particularly aware of the vehicles around you in times of poor visibility.
  • Ensure your headlights are switched on.
  • Obey the rules of the road, especially any temporary signage or hazard warnings around flooding.
  • Avoid braking suddenly as this could cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane.
  • Ensure that your windscreen wiper blades and brake pads are in good condition.

Precautions for home owners: Last-minute measures homeowners can take if water levels rise.

  • Clear gutters and drains. It is important to clear gutters of leaves, twigs and any other debris regularly which will prevent the build-up of water and reduce potential flooding.
  • If your home is on a slope, make sure that the water outflow is unrestricted. Speak to your neighbour if water has to pass through their yard.
  • Move furniture, electronic equipment and valuables out of harm’s way, lift them off the floor.

In the event of flooding:

  • Shut off electricity at the main distribution board.
  • Those using sandbags must ensure that cloth is installed between the layers. The cloth becomes saturated and forms a more watertight insulation in between the bags, thereby not allowing the water through.

Practical steps to avoid future damage from flood water:

  • Make sure that electrical points, plugs, fixed heaters and even wiring are at least 300mm above expected flood levels.
  • The slope of your property can direct water into or from your house. Observe where the water accumulates and flows. Where possible place drainage grids at the catchment points with better and deeper drainage ports. Ensure that the outflow from the roof gets to the street as quickly as possible.
  • Those with large, flat gardens that have attenuation problems can install a perforated 110mm pipe. The pipe must be seated into a bed of gravel and this can be buried 350-450 mm below the worst areas. This allows easy absorption and is a very cost effective method.