Thursday, November 13, 2008

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CT winds 'strongest in 30 years'

Nov 13 2008 12:50:57:297PM

While more heavy rain is forecast for parts of the Western Cape, the fierce gales - caused by the strongest low pressure system in 30 years - are subsiding.

Cape Town - While more heavy rain is forecast for parts of the Cape south coast, the fierce gales that have battered Cape Town and other parts of the Western Cape over the past two days are subsiding, the SA Weather Service (SAWS) said on Thursday.

"There is still rain forecast along the south coast for today (Thursday), with the possibility of heavy showers in the region between Helderberg and George," Cape Town Weather Office forecaster Lethando Masimini told Sapa.

The situation would improve on Friday, although there remained a possibility of more rain in this region, he said.

Gale-force winds and rain first struck the Western Cape on Tuesday, ripping off roofs, flooding homes, closing roads, washing away bridges and damaging crops.

Call for national funding

The scale of the damage in some Boland areas has prompted the Democratic Alliance in the region to call on Transport Minister Jeff Radebe for national funding.

"Abnormally high rainfall over the last two days has brought the rivers between Worcester and Romans River down in flood; washing away over 20 bridges and marooning thousands of people, mainly farm workers," DA provincial transport spokesperson Robin Carlisle said on Tuesday.

Rivers had burst their banks, and there was wide-scale damage to vineyards.

"Three years of massive damage caused by flooding have exhausted the province's resources and flood damage funding. Only national [government] can assist with this new wave of flood damage, which will certainly not be limited to the Worcester area," he said.

Low pressure system

The heavy storms have been blamed on a slow-moving low pressure system, which caused temperatures to drop and brought heavy rain. Called a "cut-off low" by forecasters, it was reportedly the strongest to hit the Western Cape in almost 30 years.

In Cape Town, off-the-scale winds closed the harbour on Wednesday, a harbour official, who declined to be named, told Sapa.

Instruments which read and record wind speeds of up to 70 knots (almost 130km/h), "went off the graph" several times between midnight and noon on Wednesday, the official said.

A spokesperson for Cape Town Disaster Management, Charlotte Powell, told Sapa damage in the Cape Town area from the storm included dozens of torn-off roofs, damage to vehicles from up-rooted trees and some localised flooding.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries, she said.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lightning strikes church

Burundi - Three people were killed and 22 injured when lightning struck a church in southwest Burundi, local authorities said on Monday.

"Yesterday morning, heavy rain and lightning poured down on Burambi town. A flash of lightning struck a Protestant church killing three people," the governor of Bururi province, Beatrice Havuginoti, told AFP.

Seven of the 22 people injured in Sunday's dramatic lightning flash were seriously hurt.

Dozens of homes were also destroyed as well as schools in Burambi and the neighbouring village of Buyengero, Havuginoti added.

Torrential rain since the start of the central African country's rainy season in September had already claimed ten lives and destroyed hundreds of properties.
This story was found on News24