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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Severe weather alert: Disaster crews brace for flooding, damaging storms in KZN and Cape

The South African Weather Service has forecasted a rare weather occurrence that is set to disrupt coastal areas from Sunday.

Disaster management teams in the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape are on high alert amid the South African Weather Service’s (SAWS) forecast for severe weather conditions lashing these provinces from Sunday, 7 April.

Authorities in the Eastern Cape are also expecting heavy rains, which could lead to flooding and cause delays at harbours.

Severe weather warning: Flooding, storm surges, damaging winds

According to SAWS, cut-off lows are large weather systems notorious for causing widespread flooding, as evidenced by events such as the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods in 2022.

These weather systems can also bring damaging winds, severe thunderstorms, and even snow.

A combination of strong to near-gale/gale force winds and other atmospheric factors is expected to result in a negative storm surge, posing potential risks to maritime activities and coastal infrastructure.

“This will lead to low water levels, resulting in negative storm surge along the south-west to south-east coastline of South Africa in places between Saldanha and Gqeberha,” the weather service warned in a statement on Saturday.

This phenomenon, while not directly endangering the public, can impede maritime transportation and impact shoreline structures.

Heightened vigilance and adherence to safety protocols are advised, especially for those residing in coastal regions and involved in maritime activities.

ALSO READ: Weather update: More rain, wind, fog and low temperatures predicted as ‘cut-off low’ system hits SA

Level 4 rains heading to KwaZulu-Natal

In KwaZulu-Natal, the weather forecaster has also warned residents of Level 4 rains which could result in localised flooding.

The weather forecaster said rainfall exceeding 50mm is expected over the weekend which may lead to impact such as flooding of some of the roads and settlements, displacement and traffic congestion.

‘Safe havens’: Community halls open to public

KZN Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said they had activated disaster teams in all the municipalities that are likely to be affected to be on high alert during this period.

“We advise communities to seek shelter in safe places. Public facilities, such as community halls, are open as safe havens for those in need of shelter.

Our teams may have to evacuate people should they foresee high risk of danger due to inclement weather.

“Motorists are strongly advised to avoid travelling during this period, as bridges may become flooded, posing a risk to life,” said Mngadi.

KZN areas of concern

Areas expected to be affected by the inclement weather conditions, include:

Ladysmith, Dannhauser, Underberg, Paulpietersburg, Newcastle, Dundee, Durban, Greater Kokstad,, Bulwer, Escourt, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Mkhambathini, Mooi River, Msinga, Ndwedwe, Newcastle, Nkandla, Nongoma, Nquthu, Okhahlamba, Port Shepstone, Richmond, Umdoni Umshwathi, Umzimkhulu, Pietermaritzburg, Umvoti, Umngeni, Richmond and Umzumbe.

Western Cape Level 4, 6 and 9 weather warnings

In the Western Cape, the potent cut-off low system brings with it the threat of a black southeasterly wind, disruptive rainfall, high waves capable of causing damage, and the likelihood of very cold, wet, and windy conditions.

The weather service also issued a warning for gale-force winds and heavy rain in large parts of the Western Cape from this evening (6 April).

SAWS spokesperson Tokelo Chiloane, said gale-force winds are expected in Cape Town, the Overberg and the Cape Winelands, including floods in some parts of the province, that may lead to structural damage.

Chiloane also warns of dangerous conditions for vessels at sea.

“Wind between Table Bay and Cape Agulhas is expected to lead to vessels being at risk of breaking the anker and lines.

“In terms of rainfall, the warning that we have is a level four warning for the sub different rainfall expected in the Central Karoo, West Coast, Cape Winelands and Southern Namakwa on Sunday, including the Garden Route on Monday.”

City of Cape Town disaster crews brace for damaging winds, heavy rains

The City of Cape Town says disaster crews are on high alert following the weather office’s Level 4, 6 and 9 warnings for gale-force winds and heavy rains from Saturday evening until Monday.

Disaster Risk Management spokesperson, Charlotte Powell, said the winds and predicted rainfall could cause damage across the metropole and other parts of the province.

She has urged the public to exercise caution on the roads and in low-lying areas.