Schools out as biggest storm in decades bears down on Western Cape
The decision to shut schools was taken on Tuesday as the Western Cape administration advised people to stay at home if possible because of “severe weather conditions” from the storm‚ which is expected to make landfall on Tuesday evening.
“All of the schools are going to be closed tomorrow and we're asking people to stay home‚” said James-Brent Styan‚ spokesman for local government‚ environmental affairs and development planning MEC Anton Bredell.
“This is based on the information that we're working with which says that this is going to be the worst storm we're going to have in 30 years.
“We are afraid of situations where children are going to be caught in flash floods. We are worried about gale-force winds and about the rural areas‚ where mudslides and roads could be washed away.
“We've been advised that it's safer and a better call to be proactive and close the schools‚ so we're working on information provided from all the experts that look at the weather and say that these are the worst conditions they'd seen in 30 years.”
Styan said it was also important that disaster management and emergency response teams be able to get to situations as quickly as possible‚ and the fewer people on the roads the easier it would be.
“We are expecting waves of 10-12 metres‚ so all the coastal areas are very vulnerable‚” said Styan.
“We're speaking of Camps Bay‚ Gordon's Bay‚ Strand and west coast areas in particular. We don't know what's going to happen there so we are monitoring from our provincial disaster management centre.”
The South African Air Force was on high alert‚ even though helicopters might not be able to fly in the winds.
“We'll see what the situation is. The problem is we have a very big province and we don't know what's going to happen where. If we need someone to get to Oudtshoorn very quickly you need a helicopter‚” said Styan.