Hoax hurricane message sparks panic in Cape Town

File: The storm made landfall on Thursday and is expected to continue into Friday. Photo: Pixabay / Adrianna Calvo

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town's disaster operations centre has been inundated with calls as panic gripped residents after a hoax message about a hurricane hitting the Mother City made the rounds on social media on Thursday.

The fake warning said a "hurricane type storm"  would hit the city on Thursday night and urged citizens to prepare for the storm.

"Evacuation plans have been set out for several areas and the South African air force is on standby from 10pm onwards," it said

The hoax comes a day after the South African Weather Service issued a storm warning, with Cape Town authorities bracing for heavy downpours and the "potential fallout". 

READ: Big winter storm eyeing Western Cape

Disaster risk management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said the South African Weather Service was predicting galeforce winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour.

But, there was no need for panic, Powell said, adding that the calls from concerned residents were blocking the lines for real emergencies.

"This is indeed a hoax message and we are advising the public not to call the DOC number in that message unless they have a real emergency".

The storm made landfall on Thursday and is expected to continue into Friday.


African News Agency

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