07 June 2017
Cape Town and the Western Cape have been experiencing a terrible drought. We have had almost no rain since last year. Even the autumn rains did not happen. Everyone is frightfully worried at the steadily dropping dam levels. We have been trying to save water wherever we can, but it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference. Since the start of June, we have had Level 4 water restrictions, which are very strict indeed.
As a result, everyone was very excited to hear that a massive storm was approaching Cape Town. Rain at last!
But it wasn’t just rain that arrived. It was powerful winds that ripped roofs off houses, cracked branches off trees, uprooted entire trees and tossed them onto cars and across roads, ripped down power lines, and blew over delivery trucks. As you know, I am not sturdily built myself, and I felt so grateful that we were safely indoors.
The ocean was lashed into a surging, foaming frenzy. All along the seashore, towering waves crashed into walkways, streets, piers, and beaches, flooding houses and shops and leaving behind a trail of destruction.
Stormwater drains were turned into torrents, with deep pools forming wherever there were blockages. Informal settlements were flooded. Lightning flashed across the sky and great booming thunder claps echoed all around. And as the temperature plummeted, pebbles of hail rattled against window panes, and we could see our breath forming little clouds when we exhaled.
Reggie and I were working on the computer during the storm, when we noticed that our electricity kept dipping whenever there was a strong gust of wind… the lights were flickering, the UPS was beeping, the earth leakage tripped and the plugs switched themselves off… We discovered that the branches of a neighbour’s tree were being blown against the electricity cables and causing sparks to fly. Power was cut in various areas around the city.
In-between the downpours, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. Reggie and I went out to inspect the garden and to check for damage. She had very thoughtfully bought me a new rain jacket, so I felt all nice and cosy.
There is something so beautiful about the sunlight that comes after the rain… everything looks so fresh and clean and full of life. We haven’t had good rain for sooo long, that I had almost forgotten how amazing it smells. After months of drought, the ground had felt dry, hard, parched, dusty… now, the earth felt soft and squishy underfoot. Let’s hope we get more rain so that our dams can fill properly again!