Cape Town, in the grips of the worst drought on record, is bracing itself for the biggest storm in 30 years, with the authorities ordering all schools to shut on Wednesday and advising residents to stay off the roads.
The storm, which is expected to hit South Africa’s second-biggest city late on Tuesday, is forecast to bring as much as 50 millimeters (2 inches) of rain within 24 hours, gale force winds and sea swells of 10 meters to 12 meters (32 to 39 feet) high, the Western Cape provincial administration said in an e-mailed statement.
“The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre has taken extensive measures to prepare for the worst possible conditions,” the provincial government said. It warned that there is a danger of mudslides and flooding in some low-lying areas.
While Cape Town badly needs rain, the downpour will only marginally alleviate water shortages, city authorities said. Residents are banned from using potable water to irrigate gardens, wash cars and fill up swimming pools, with the average level of usable water in surrounding dams having dropped to less than 10 percent.