Western Cape braces for level 8 deluge before another 'intense cold front'

10 July 2024 - 09:48
By Kim Swartz
A municipal worker attempts to unclog a flooded road in Newlands during heavy rain in Cape Town.
Image: Reuters/Esa Alexander A municipal worker attempts to unclog a flooded road in Newlands during heavy rain in Cape Town.

Widespread rain continues to wreak havoc across the Western Cape as another intense cold front is expected to cause more flooding on Thursday. 

More than 200mm of rain was recorded in Cape Town by Tuesday morning after a series of cold fronts made landfall at the weekend. Authorities urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel due to multiple road closures and dangerous conditions. 

“Assessments to date indicate more than 14,000 structures have been affected by varying degrees of flooding or wind damage,” City of Cape Town disaster risk management centre spokesperson Sonica Lategan said on Wednesday.

“Over the past two days, NGO partners including Gift of the Givers, Ashraful Aid, Mustadafin, Islamic Relief, Al-Imdaad and the Warehouse have facilitated soft relief including handing over more than 20,000 meals, 2,550 blankets and 2,450 beanies to affected communities in Khayelitsha, Lwandle, Gugulethu, Philippi, Masiphumelele and Tafelsig, among others.

“Rain is expected to continue throughout today [Wednesday] and the South African Weather Service's warning of level 8 disruptive rain on Thursday remains in place.”

The expected 24-hour rainfall will be 40mm to 60mm — reaching 80mm to 100mm in mountainous areas on Thursday.

It was a wet and cold start to the school term on Tuesday with the provincial education department confirming five schools remained closed as a result of flooding, inaccessibility and damage to the buildings.

“In total, 82 schools have reported damage. Most cases are minor, with 31 regarded as more serious. This includes schools where roof sheeting was blown off,” said the provincial education department.

There were also reports of weather impacts in remote districts such as Wupperthal in the Cederberg, which suffered extensive flood damage last year.

“Yes, we've been affected and were a few days without electricity,” said Shelly-Ann Zimri from the town’s famous shoe factory.

Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay said residents of Wupperthal, cut off since Sunday after the only road into the area became inaccessible, requested help.

“Residents and the local Cederberg municipality reached out to Gift of the Givers for urgent assistance as some families have run out of food supplies.

“Gift of the Givers teams in partnership with the Cederberg disaster risk management team and Search and Rescue South Africa will avail seven 4×4 vehicles to transport food parcels, blankets, hygiene care packs and water to residents,” said Sablay. 

Cape Town residents shared pictures and videos of rivers bursting banks in various suburbs, including the Liesbeek River.