Western Cape storm: Karoo, Garden Route experience heaviest rains in six years

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  • The Garden Route and parts of the Karoo have experienced the heaviest rain in six years.
  • A winter storm has lashed the Western Cape since Tuesday night.
  • Residents have been warned of further flooding as rivers swell.

The winter storm that has swept across the Western Cape has brought the Garden Route District and Karoo more rain than seen in the past six years - in just two days.

The storm, which made landfall on Tuesday evening, hit towns in the Overberg and Cape Wineland areas the hardest, with flooding reported in most areas. 

In the Overberg, the heavy downpour caused havoc in the towns of  Bredasdorp, Struisbaai, Riviersonderend and surrounds.

In Struisbaai, where around 115mm of rain fell on the first day, evacuations were carried out and around 300 people were displaced by the floods. 

In Bonnievale, two people lost their lives due to flooding.

Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the Garden Route District and Klein Karoo, in the area surrounding Ladismith, had also seen heavy rain. 

"The amount of rain that has fallen in this area over the past two days is more than the area has seen in the past six years. There are no reports of any casualties or missing people and there has been no need for any evacuations in the Garden Route district," he said.

Although heavy rain and winds may be subsiding in parts of the province, residents have been warned to be careful of rising river levels and further flooding.

Areas remain dangerous

Gourits Riviermond, Stilbaai and Bitou saw some flooding, as well as parts of Hessequa. The municipalities have managed the situation and it remained under control.

READ | Western Cape storm: 2 dead, 2 missing, evacuations and rescues ... 'it was complete chaos'

Bredell said large parts of the Overberg remained flooded as rain continued to fall in the area.

"The severity of the storm is easing up, but the amount of rain and the impact on infrastructure continues to pose problems and the area remains dangerous. Rivers in the region continue to rise, overflowing riverbanks in some areas and the water is coming down towards the ocean at a speed," he cautioned.

The areas of Swellendam, Bredasdorp, Struisbaai, Riversonderend and the surrounding areas continued to be most affected. The search remains ongoing for two missing persons - one in Stormsvlei and one in Riviersonderend.

Meanwhile, rescue operations are ongoing and other rescue operations continue.

"We urge people in the area to remain indoors where possible, to avoid travelling around in the regions affected as roads are damaged and some bridges in rural areas have been washed away. Please contact the emergency services in the event of any emergency."


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