HEAVY snow and rainfall caused major damage and resulted in several deaths across South Africa this weekend, with disaster management services on Monday still trying to ensure safety of residents and travellers.
Dipuo Tawana , forecaster at the South African Weather Service, said the weather had affected coastal provinces in particular.
“Heavy rain fell over the Western, eastern and southern Northern Cape, resulting in extensive flooding over the coastal and adjacent interior from Stilbaai to Port Elizabeth, with widespread damage,” she said.
Eastern Cape’s Jamestown recorded temperatures as low as -4.8° C on Friday.
Ms Tawana said jetties and boats were washed out to sea in Plettenberg Bay.
In Port Elizabeth, roads were closed due to flooding and fallen trees, while strong winds blew the roofs off houses. There were widespread power failures and up to 2000 people had to be evacuated from their homes in low-lying areas of the city.
Between Friday and Monday, Joubertina reported 171,6mm of rainfall, the Third Avenue monitoring station in Port Elizabeth reported 195,2mm and Storms River Mouth reported 160mm. Temperatures over most parts of the Eastern, Western and Western Cape were below 10° C over the weekend.
“The weather system resulted in snowfall over the high ground of the Western and Eastern Cape. As a result, most passes were closed,” Ms Tawana said.
Colin Deiner, chief director of disaster management and fire brigade services in the Western Cape, said on Monday that while preparations had been made to deal with the challenges the weather presented, the province recorded one death on Sunday night as a result of the cold.
“The N1 near Beaufort West was closed over the weekend. Five hundred trucks were stuck but there were preparations made in advance to begin clearing the road, which we have done,” he said.
Mr Deiner added that farming areas in the province were cut off as a result of the snow and rainfall. “Seven farms in the Nuweveld area near Beaufort West that have been cut off. We have taken action today to get a helicopter to provide food. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are supplying food for farm animals that were cut off.”
In Mqanduli and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, two people froze to death, while the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that three people had drowned in Port Elizabeth, although details were not immediately available.
Article source: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=176386