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Cape Town On High Alert for Damaging Winds and Veldfire Risks

Published December 27, 2023
7 months ago

Cape Town citizens brace themselves as the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued an alarming weather warning for potentially destructive winds through Thursday, December 28, 2023. A Level 2 alert stipulates that south-easterly winds, ranging between the speeds of 50 and 70 kilometers per hour, are expected to buffet areas from Table Bay to Cape Agulhas, home to part of the iconic Cape Floristic Region.

In a statement released Wednesday, Charlotte Powell, Disaster Risk Management spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, emphasized the persistence of these harsh weather conditions. Despite momentary respite, the announcement confirms fears that the windy onslaught is not yet over, thus extending the state of alert.

This weather phenomenon, according to Powell, significantly amplifies the likelihood of veldfires—a major concern given recent distress experienced as a result of these fierce natural elements. Alarmed officials are asserting that the population remains vigilant and proactively mitigate potential hazards.

Within this preparatory advice lies a series of recommended precautions: trimming back open-flame activities, thorough checks on flammable products, and distinct warnings against the discarding of cigarette buts from vehicles—a practice with dangerous fire-starting potential. Moreover, the city authorities plead with the public to swiftly report any detected signs of fire.

Measures extend to property security as residents are urged to ensure that their homes and their appendant structures—roofs, awnings, patio furnishings—are all adequately safeguarded against the power of gusting winds.

The advisory also pertains to maritime safety. On Monday, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) released a national safety warning in response to the heightened spring tide influenced by the full moon cycle. The culmination of this spring tide occurred on Wednesday, corresponding with this latest environmental alert—a compounding factor that accentuates coastal risk.

Accessibility to emergency services, therefore, becomes paramount, and Cape Town has disseminated crucial information for such instances; the Public Emergency Communication Centre can be contacted at 021 480 7700 from a cell phone, or 107 from a landline for any related emergency assistance.

This serves as a stark reminder of the weather's unpredictable and sometimes perilous nature and the importance of preparedness for the protection of citizens and their assets. As the winds continue to howl, the city stands united and ready to respond to any distress calls, hoping to weather this storm with minimal fallout.

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