South Africa’s beaches ‘closed immediately’ – due to threat from tropical cyclone

South Africa’s beaches ‘closed immediately’ – due to threat from tropical cyclone

A selection of beaches in the KZN municipality of KwaDukuza have become the first in South Africa to immediately close down this week, as a result of the threat posed by Tropical Cyclone Batsirai.

Will Tropical Cyclone Batsirai hit South Africa?

The extreme weather event is currently taking place off the coast of Madagascar, and it is likely to reach the eastern coast of Africa in the next few days. It’s not yet clear if South Africa will be affected by the tropical cyclone, but an alert issued by the SA Weather Service suggests that a cautionary approach is the best course of action… for now:

“Batsirai is classified as a Tropical Cyclone and is currently associated with sustained winds of about 140km/h.  Very rough seas, combined with storm surge, tend to be more extreme on the southern (poleward) side of tropical storms in this region of the world. It is not yet possible to accurately determine how Batsirai will affect South Africa.”
SAWS statement

Which beaches are closed in KwaDukuza?

The KwaDukuza Municipality updated its citizens earlier on Thursday afternoon. They confirmed that unsettled weather conditions are heading for the region over the next 72 hours, and safety equipment will be removed from protected beaches as a precaution. Therefore, setting foot on the sands will not be allowed.
Beach closures will be implemented between Ballito and Zinkwazi:

Protected beaches that fall within the red lines will be closed, until early next week – Photo: Google Maps

Operations will resume ‘once tropical cyclone has gone’

As soon as Batsirai has passed, officials say beaches will reopen… once the safety gear is restored, anyway. The equipment is vital for keeping beachgoers safe from sharks and other sea-faring dangers.

“The KZN Sharks Board took a decision to start removing all safety gear from protected beaches this morning, 3 February, due to the potential effect Batsirai could have on our coast and weather conditions from Sunday 6 February.”
“Considering the above, the KwaDukuza Municipality has taken a decision to close all its beaches immediately – until such time that the cyclone has passed, and the shark safety gear is restored.”
“This action is taken to protect lives and unnecessary losses and/or damage to council equipment because of the strong winds and heavy seas, associated with this severe weather system.”
KwaDukuza Municipality statement

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