Spring high tide leaves trail of destruction along Garden Route

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The George Municipality in the Western Cape says the damage to infrastructure and private property following high waves in the area is estimated to run into millions of rand.

This after stormy weather conditions combined with a spring tide caused damage along the Western Cape, Southern Cape and Eastern Cape coast on Saturday.

Herolds Bay was the worst affected area, with residents close to the beach being evacuated.

George Mayor, Leon Van Wyk says, “It’s a spring tide and we moving into that time of equinoxes again. So, this is one of those unique circumstances that happens from time to time. There’s going to be quite a few days just to clear up everything, the depth of sand that we have … and in walking around here just assessing the power of the water and the ocean moving around huge bits of infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, mopping up operations are underway at the Brass Bell Restuarant at Kalk Bay in Cape Town after high waves caused extensive damage to the property.

The restaurant and the Kalk Bay Theatre were among the hardest hit by a series of powerful waves brought on by springtide.

The water shattered windows, damaged roofs and flooded the establishments.

Co-owner of the Kalk Bay Theatre, Vanessa Harris, says they have closed down operations for the moment.

“The waves just came in, but they just kept coming and kept coming and kept coming. So, it was just mad panic. It’s like your house is on fire, what are you going to grab. So, we just grabbed everything we could, everything electrical and expensive grabbed it and got it out of here as fast as we could.”

“[The] damage that has been caused is mostly windows, they were taken out completely smashed … our furniture is very wet,” adds Harris.

Weather Service issues warning

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has again appealed to residents, especially motorists, in the coastal towns of the KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces to be cautious after high tide surges wreaked havoc across a number of coastal communities sweeping away cars and flooding nearby homes and businesses.

Spokesperson for the South African Weather Service in Gqeberha, Garth Sampson says, “These conditions form in isolation every month and every other week. But when they form all together at once, it’s what we would call a perfect storm.”

“This cause lots of damage on the coastline from Mossel Bay all the way to Port Alfred where we’ve got reports of Willows having serious damage with Jeffreys Bay also affected Beachview, Seaview and Mangolds Pool,” adds Sampson.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman has died and one person sustained injuries during a storm surge in the Garden Route.

The George Municipality closed all beaches in the area on Saturday, when high waves battered several beaches, including Victoria Bay and Herolds Bay.

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