Wind and rain shuts down Cape schools  

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By Anita Dangazele

Several schools in the Cape Winelands will be closed today due to extreme winds and heavy downpours are expected to hit the Western Cape.

The Western Cape government made the announcement on Sunday after the South African Weather Service issued a Level 9 weather warning. 

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said schools in the Overberg, Cape Winelands and Helderberg (Somerset) areas will be closed.  

“The affected schools will communicate with the parents of their learners regarding closures. Schools in other areas could also be closed, but this will be on a case-by-case basis following the relevant approval from the Western Cape Education Department,” Winde said.

Winde said independent schools and education centres have also been urged to follow the department’s lead. 

“Our message to residents and visitors is that severe weather is already impacting us. We have mobilised all our resources to be on standby to respond where needed. We appeal to people to not take unnecessary risks and listen to the instructions of law enforcement and traffic authorities,” Winde said.

The announcement comes as just over 1,500 residents were left homeless on Saturday after strong winds flared up a fire in Zone O, Khayamnandi informal settlement in the Cape Winelands. 

Spokesperson for Disaster Risk Management, Charlotte Powell, said the wind blew off roofs in Khayelitsha, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Macassar, Strand and Delft.

Somerset West Methodist Primary School has suffered extensive wind damage.

“In the south peninsula, at least nine properties have been destroyed by a fire in the Glencairn area. Evacuations are currently underway in Fish Hoek. The fire has also caused rock falls along Main Road in the area,” she added.

Powell said the energy department is also working on restoring power lines and the power supply in numerous areas, including Claremont, Fish Hoek, Athlone, Durbanville, Mfuleni, Kuilsriver and Plumstead.

Several provincial roads have also been closed due to fallen trees including the R44, Clarence Drive between Gordons Bay and Rooi Els in Overberg, the N1, the Huguenot Tunnel in the Cape Winelands and Chapman’s Peak Drive in Cape Town. 

Pictured above: Fallen trees on a Western Cape road. 

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