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Storm in Western Cape results in 9-metre waves

by Michael Appel
on 01 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The South African Weather Service has recorded nine-metre high waves along the Western Cape coast, as gale force winds continue to batter the area.

Forecaster at the weather service, Evert Scholtz on Monday said the winds, coupled with the spring tide, caused waves to swell to about three stories high.

"We still have very rough seas all along the coast between the Orange River and Cape Town."

However, the strong winds have subsided slightly since Sunday

Speaking to BuaNews Mr Scholtz said the Western Cape received the worst of the storms which hit South Africa's coastline at the weekend.

He said winds classified as "strong gale" were recorded in the province which had resulted in gusts of over 80km/h.

"These strong gale winds rapidly spread to the Eastern Cape, then Port Elizabeth and East London," Mr Scholtz said.

According to the City of Cape Town the widespread rain caused flooding, power disruptions and damage to homes.

The Disaster Response Teams on Sunday assessed the affected areas to determine the number of houses which have been flooded.

Hot meals and blankets are being provided to flood victims at Phola Park, Klipfontein Mission Station and Never-Never in Phillipi informal settlements, however it is not necessary to set up temporary shelter at the City's community halls to accommodate flood victims.

The municipality has urged Cape Town residents not to travel to the coast to view the heavy swells being experienced as this is causing traffic congestion.

The worst hit areas are on the Cape Flats due to the high water table and limited run-off capacity.

Meanwhile, strong north-westerly winds have fuelled veld fires in Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Mpumalanga highlands.

Mr Scholtz said: "There is still a warning for rough seas all along the coast, and the interior will experience cold conditions for the moment.

"We expect warmer weather to set in from tomorrow [Tuesday] onwards, with no further rain expected.

"It is still too early to quantify the damages as in many places fires are still being brought under control," Mr Scholtz said.

Manager at the Department of Provincial and Local Government's Disaster Management and Support unit Judy Mboweni told BuaNews they received a request from KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo for helicopter support over the weekend.

"We received the call from KwaZulu-Natal for the South African National Defence Force [SANDF] to assist with helicopters, but bad weather conditions meant the helicopters had to turn back to Gauteng.

"On Friday there was orange and red warnings issued on the Fire Damage Index, and two helicopters were dispatched to battle fires in Limpopo," said Ms Mboweni.

She told BuaNews a report from the affected provinces was expected to determine the extent of damages or any loss of life.

In the United States' Gulf Coast people are leaving the area ahead of the approaching Hurricane Gustav. - BuaNews

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