South African National Parks (SANParks) in the Wilderness is bracing for heavy rains, following an advisory from the South African Weather Service (SAWS).
The SAWS issued a warning for heavy rainfall on Sunday evening in the Koukamma Municipality and surrounds, saying it could lead to localised flooding along the coast and the adjacent interior west of St Francis.
George is expected to receive around 40mm of rain, with 50mm forecast for Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
SANParks Section Ranger Jonathan Britton said precautionary measures were in place in an attempt to limit flooding.
The measures include preparation channels at the mouths of the Swartvlei and Touws rivers, although both mouths are currently closed.
According to Britton, the Swartvlei River is currently at a height of 1.68m. Around 60mm would be needed to raise the water level to a height at which it would breach the banks.
The Touws River’s water height currently stands at 1.71m, and around 50mm would be needed to cause a breach.
“All live rainfall stations are operational to actively monitor the rainfall. The rainfall stations are positioned in the mountain catchments and can be viewed at www.iweathar.co.za.
‘The rainfall stations have automated SMSs that are sent when set rainfall amounts are exceeded and this information is used to reduce the amount of time required to initiate the opening of the estuary mouths if required,” Britton says.
Excavators will be on site at Swartvlei and Touws river mouths on Sunday to ensure a quick response to open the estuary mouths if required.
Although the park will stay open, hiking trails such as the popular Half Collared Kingfisher and Brownhooded Kingfisher trails will be closed on Sunday afternoon.