Safety tips: How to prepare in the event of floods


22 February 2017 - A road is completely submerged by floodwaters following heavy rains in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.

CAPE TOWN - An intense cold front is expected to affect the Northern and Western Cape on Wednesday and Thursday with heavy rain expected that may lead to flooding.

The South African Weather Service issued some safety tips for residents dealing with the extreme weather conditions.

Heavy rain (50 mm of rain in a 24-hour period) is possible over the western parts of the Western Cape, the highest rainfall is expected particularly over the western mountainous areas. Further showers are expected in the west overnight into Thursday.

READ: Massive storm bears down on W Cape

The effects of the weather system are also expected in the sea state, with high to very high seas and wave heights greater than 6 – 8m expected south of Alexander Bay from Wednesday afternoon and reaching 9 – 12m between Lamberts Bay and Cape Agulhas, spreading along the south coast by Thursday. 

"All City services and relevant external agencies are on standby to deal with the consequences of the severe weather that has been forecast," said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

"This includes clearing away uprooted trees, attending to other infrastructure like roadways affected by strong winds or potential flooding, and dealing with any potential power disruptions, etc," he said.

READ: Survival tip: What to do if your car is caught in a flash flood

"The City will also make emergency shelter and associated humanitarian relief available in the event that any people are displaced as a result of the frontal system," Smith added.

Here is a checklist for residents to prepare for the extreme rainfall: 

  • Make sure that drainage pipes on your property are not blocked
  • Make sure that the stormwater gutters around your property are free from debris
  • Check for dead or burnt trees that have the potential of falling onto your property and causing damage
  • Place sandbags where necessary to protect critical areas
  • Check the terms of your insurance policy with regard to flood and mud damage
  • In informal settlements, raise the floor level of your home to be higher than the land outside
  • Listen to weather warnings that are issued by the South African Weather Service

"We further appeal to the public to report any emergency incidents to our Public Emergency Communication Centre so that we can respond as speedily as possible and mitigate the fallout," Smith said.

"Residents should dial 021-480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline."

"I advise the public to ensure that they have this number saved on their contact list for easy access in case of an emergency," Smith added.

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