The South African Weather Services has issued a warning of heavy rains for Sunday evening (29 September 2019).
SANParks in the Wilderness has the following precautionary measures according to Marine Section Ranger, Jonathan Britton:
Although both Swartvlei and Touw River mouths are currently closed, preparation channels are in place at both river mouths.
‘Swartvlei water height is at 1.68m to be breached at 2.0m height. This means approximately 60mm would likely raise the water level to 2.0m’ says Britton.
He adds ‘the Touw River’s water height is at 1.71m to be breached at between 2.1-2.4m height. Approximately 50mm would likely raise the water level to 2.1 – 2.2m.
All live rainfall stations are operational to actively monitor the rainfall. The rainfall stations are positioned in the mountain catchments and can be viewed at www.iweathar.co.za.
The rainfall stations have automated SMSs that are sent when set rainfall amounts are exceeded and this information is used to reduce the amount of time required to initiate the opening of the estuary mouths if required.
In addition, excavators will be established at Swartvlei and Touw river mouths today and tomorrow to be on-site by Sunday to ensure a quick response to open the estuary mouths if required.
Rangers and excavator operators will monitor water levels and rainfall.
Park Manager, Dr Sandra Taljaard says the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park will remain open and hiking trails such as the popular Half Collared Kingfisher and Brownhooded Kingfisher trails will be closed on Sunday afternoon before the heavy rains.
Image of last breaching- Jonathan Britton and Carel van der Merwe of Wilderness