WC emergency services on 24hr standby for ‘intense cold front’

Snow in 2012. Picture: Ladysmith Gazette

Snow in 2012. Picture: Ladysmith Gazette

Snowfall is expected over the western half of the Western Cape and in some parts of the Northern Cape.

Disaster risk management teams and emergency services in the Western Cape have been placed on full alert as a cold front is expected to make landfall on Tuesday night.

The Western Cape local government department and the City of Cape Town issued severe weather warnings on Monday, saying the province’s residents should brace for rainy, windy weather, coupled with some snow on Wednesday and Thursday.

“The public are advised to expect heavy rain, leading to flooding, gale-force coastal and interior winds, snowfalls, storm surges and high sea conditions,” the City said in a statement.

Rainfall of 50 milimetres were expected over a 24-hour period on Wednesday.

“The highest rainfall is expected particularly over the western mountainous areas. Further showers are expected in the west overnight, into Thursday,” according to the City.

Snowfall was expected over the western half of the Western Cape and in some parts of the Northern Cape.

“Snowfalls are possible during Wednesday afternoon/evening, but the majority of snowfalls are expected during Thursday. There are chances of some disruption as a result of these snowfalls.”

Most of the Western Cape interior will experience gale force winds, with the windspeed reaching 65 to 90 kilometres per hour along the South Western coast.

Waves of up to eight metres were expected south of Alexander Bay and could reach up to 12 metres between Lamberts Bay and Cape Agulhas.

“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.”

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said while rainfall was welcome in the drought-stricken province, the weather conditions could cause some localised flooding in Cape Town and other areas of the Western Cape.

“Some of the other associated risks during bad weather like this also includes mudslides and informal settlement fires,” said Bredell.

“In the Central Karoo region we had a fatality a short while ago following heavy rains in the area. We want to advise the public to use extreme caution when traveling in the Western Cape or if exposed to the weather over the next few days.”

He urged people experiencing emergencies to contact their local disaster management centres immediately.

“The easiest number to remember to call in an emergency is 112. This number can be dialled toll-free from any cellphone.”

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