After prayer for rain, drought-hit Cape Town expects major storm

News24 reported Wednesday that four people were killed in a fire caused by lightning and another person died when a house collapsed.

TEMPO.CO, Cape Town - South African tourist base Cape Town and surrounding areas were hit by the worst winter storm in 30 years.

By 8am no flights at Cape Town International Airport had ben affected by the storm‚ but while planes were operating normally the same could not be said of trains and automobiles.

The storm, which has not yet reached its peak, hit parts of the Cape Peninsula on Tuesday night destroying homes and breaking trees. The region has been suffering a severe drought.

Western Cape authorities ordered for the closure of schools and universities in the province on Wednesday for the safety of students and teachers.

"The South African Weather Services has advised that the current weather conditions will persist until approximately 5am to 6am tomorrow morning whereafter the showers will subside".

On Tuesday‚ the air force and disaster management teams were put on standby as swells of up to 16 metres were predicted.

One outlet, Jacaranda FM, attributed the death toll of eight to James-Brent Styan, a provincial official.

Residents were also urged to, where possible, use suitable containers to capture rainwater. The storm is expected to abate by Thursday afternoon, he said. "It is key that the general public stays away from the coastal areas for their own safety‚" said Charlotte Powell of the council disaster management centre.

As a result of the severe warning issued by the weather service, the Western Cape Education Department has taken the decision to close schools in the area on Wednesday "in the interest of learner and educator safety".

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