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Cape Town braces itself for a month's rain in a day

Children playing near a flooded road in Cape Town. File photo.
Children playing near a flooded road in Cape Town. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

The first northwester of the year will unleash torrential rain on Cape Town, starting on Tuesday night and continuing throughout Wednesday.

Between 7pm on Tuesday, when the rain is expected to start, and the early hours of Thursday, when it is forecast to stop, more than 45mm is expected to fall.

Long-term average March rainfall in Newlands — usually the wettest part of Cape Town — is 46mm.

In mountainous areas this total could more than double, with the farmland around Ceres expected to soak up more than 100mm of rain, according to yr.no.

The SA Weather Service has also issued warnings for heavy rainfall until Thursday in Stellenbosch, Overstrand/Hermanus, Drakenstein/Paarl, Theewaterskloof and Grabouw.

The City of Cape Town also warned of northwesterly gusts exceeding 60km/h and put emergency teams on standby.

“Flooding of roads and settlements in both formal and informal settlements is possible. The disruption of traffic flow is likely, along with increased motor vehicle accidents, especially in peak-hour traffic on Wednesday,” the weather service said.

“Essential services such as water and electricity may be affected. There is a chance for mudslides and rockfalls in susceptible areas.

“Disruption of small harbours and/or ports is possible for a short period of time. Due to strong winds and high wave heights, difficulty in navigation is likely. Small vessels and personal watercraft (like kayaks) are at risk of taking on water and capsizing in a locality.

“Disruption to beachfront activities can also be expected.”