This summer has seen very little fire activity compared to
So you’ve seen the headlines: “Monster Storm To Hit Cape Town”, “Cape Town Residents Warned to Prepare For Massive Storm” etc. But just what precautions does one need to take during such an event you may ask. Firstly, let’s just say that while this storm is a big one and severe weather is expected across much of the province, it is not unprecedented. Cape Town has seen a few storms similar to this, with the best parallel perhaps being the September 2001 storm. Cape Town made it through the storm then, and it will do the same this time. Conditions associated with the system have in most cases been experienced in themselves several times over the course of a few years. With wind gusts forecast to peak in the range of 90km/h to 100km/h, these are wind speeds that were felt during the Cape Argus this year, which caused the race to get cancelled.
However, even though the hype may place excessive expectations on the damage, or risk of the storm — there are some precautions that should be taken by residents of the Cape. Unfortunately, many of the poorer Cape residents will be unable to prepare in the same way, and some structural damage and flooding to informal settlements are a possibility.
With the first phase of the storm set to arrive this evening, you still have a few hours to prepare.
First and foremost: If you have any outdoor animals, consider bringing them inside for the night. Keeping them warm and out of the way of any potential loose branches that may be being blown around.
Preparing For The Wind
With wind speeds forecast to be sustained at around 75km/h in places, with higher gusts, one should consider taking several steps to ensure they are prepared for what the winds may bring. Here’s a few simple things you can do around your house to ensure you are best protected from the wind.
– Tie down or place inside, any plastic garden furniture which may be blown about in the wind.
– Turn upside down any trampolines you may have in the garden.
– If you have any branches that seem as though they are near breaking point, that are close to your house, consider cutting them off this afternoon.
– Move your car from under trees branches if possible.
– Take care when driving, especially on mountain passes or areas where wind can be funneled.
Preparing For The Rain
Rainfall forecasts are optimistic, with in excess of 50mm for the Cape and Boland areas. In some places this number could be in excess of 100mm. The risk exists for localized flooding, as well as the potential for subsequent rock falls in mountain passes. While our dams may be seeing some relief, the heavy falls of rain may pose a threat of danger. Here’s how we’d suggest preparing:
– Drive carefully and slowly. Heavy rain will not only reduce your braking effectiveness, but will also cause decreased visibility on the roads. Pools of water on high ways can be especially dangerous if driving at high speeds too.
– Clean your gutters. Autumn leaves often collect in house gutters, which can lead to ineffective draining of water from your roof and subsequently lead to leaks into your home.
– Avoid flooded areas. Follow radio and news reports on where flooding may have occurred. This can allow you to avoid flooded or closed roads.
– Keep at eye out for rock falls. On mountain passes, heavy rains and winds can often cause rock falls which spew into the road. With the extended drought the odds of rock falls during such a storm is increased. Keep a close eye on the road when driving through a rocky pass.
Preparing For Storm Surge & Swell
Storm surge is something that South Africans aren’t very accustom to. But every now and then a large storm will bring surge onto the beaches or into the roads of those that run along the beach fronts. This storm does pose a risk for storm surge along the coast, particularly at high tide. This storm will also bring with it massive swells of up to 12 meters.
– Follow news updates on road conditions along beach roads, and avoided roads which have been flooded by sea water.
– Do not attempt to swim during the storm (as crazy as it may sound, it happens).
– Avoid parking near areas of beach front that are known to breach.
Preparing For Cold & Snow
With the storm comes the likelihood of snow on the higher mountains of the province, along with very cold temperatures, specifically the high ground of the province. Thankfully most people are aware of how to keep warm, so you can just go ahead and do that. And make sure your animals and if applicable, your livestock are also kept as warm as they can be during the cold.
Be safe, be responsible.