Between 6-8 June, much of South Africa’s Western Cape province, including Cape Town, was hit by a powerful storm which resulted in casualties and severe disruptions. The South African Weather Service reported it as the worst winter storm in 30 years as mudslides, flash floods and gale force winds left Cape Town partially paralyzed.
Anticipated by local authorities about a week before, a storm hit much of the province of Western Cape with full force on Tuesday, 6 June and did not completely pass until Thursday afternoon 8 June. The province’s most populous city Cape Town was particularly affected as winds reached around 100 kilometers per hour and heavy rain and huge waves battered the coastal city. The storm also coincided with a period of high tides which added to the massive floods.
Simultaneously, huge wildfires triggered by lightning ravaged around Cape Town, and the hard winds caused the fatal fires to spread very fast. The fires resulted in casualties and the displacement of several thousand people. Across Cape Town roads were blocked, schools and universities shut, public transport disrupted and many areas were left without electricity.
Our in-app advice for what to do during a flood:
- Move immediately to higher ground if there is a sign of flash flooding. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas prone to flash flooding.
- Do not walk through moving water. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas.
“The mother of all storms”, as it was named by local media, passed on Thursday 8 June leaving Cape Town and other parts of Western Cape in partly disastrous conditions as the poor state of housing of many residents left thousands homeless.
SAFEY published several alerts of the storm. Users were forewarned on Monday 5 June of the anticipated adverse weather condition. Further on alerts were published on Tuesday 6 June and Wednesday 7 June warning travelers of disruptions due to mudslides, flash floods, gale force winds, as well as the wildfires around Western Cape. On Thursday 8 June, an update was sent to users informing of the closure of schools, traffic disruptions and large electricity cuts caused by the storm. A warning was also included regarding authorities’ recommendation of avoiding beaches and staying indoors until the storm had passed.