Flooding takes towns by surprise

Eden District disaster manager Wouter Jacobs said Knysna had received the highest recorded rainfall, with 115mm measured at Knysnas Charlesford weather station by 8am yesterday.
Eden District disaster manager Wouter Jacobs said Knysna had received the highest recorded rainfall, with 115mm measured at Knysnas Charlesford weather station by 8am yesterday.

GARDEN Route towns experienced flooding yesterday after heavy rain inundated towns from Riversdal to Plettenberg Bay.

Heavy rain began falling on Monday night and by morning yesterday, many roads were under water and rivers had broken their banks.

Eden District disaster manager Wouter Jacobs said Knysna had received the highest recorded rainfall, with 115mm measured at Knysna’s Charlesford weather station by 8am yesterday.

“The whole of Eden got heavy rain and it’s still raining. There has been lots of flooding, but no evacuations,” Jacobs said yesterday.

There had been mudslides near the white bridge over the Knysna River, while gravel roads between Rheenendal and Karatara had been closed.

Goukamma River, west of Knysna, broke its banks, as did the Karatara River.

Elmay Bouwer, owner of the Black Water River Lodge on the Goukamma River, said yesterday it was the highest locals had seen the Goukamma River in 50 years.

“It came down so quickly, people were not prepared for it. The golf course is flooded and closed, and we carried all our stuff out of the restaurant to be safe. Luckily the water did not come inside. But the river did take our wedding gazebo away. It is big, it takes whole weddings, but the water took it down in minutes and washed it away. It is apparently now lying near Buffels Bay – and we are 10km from Buffels Bay. I don’t know if we can save it. I hope so,” Bouwer said.

Many properties had lost water pipes and other infrastructure in the flood waters, she said.

Cynthia Terblanche, owner of the River Deck Restaurant on the Goukamma River, said the swollen river had risen “very close” to the floor of their deck.

“Normally if the river floods you have a lot of time, but this water just came up fast. It was quite a shock. We have got about 80 percent of our chairs and tables out of the way. There is no one out on the deck, but in the main restaurant we are keeping the fire going and making coffee. As soon as the sun starts shining again we will be up and running again,” Terblanche said.

In George, trees were blown down, there were power failures and the roof of one house was blown off in high winds.

Meiringspoort, in the Klein Karoo, was closed because of flooding but had been reopened by yesterday afternoon.

IOL

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