Storm finally creeps in over Cape Town

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Eight people have been killed and thousands forced from their homes as South Africa's tourist base Cape Town and surrounding areas were hit by the worst winter storm in 30 years, officials said on Wednesday (local time).

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has cautioned residents that despite heavy rains, there is still a need to reduce water usage.

The "worst storm in living memory" began to unleash its fury on Cape Town early on Wednesday writes Dave Chambers.

In May, the Western Cape province declared a drought disaster after two reservoirs were already completely dry.

As many shared genuine pictures of the storm and its aftermath on social media, still others used the turmoil to circulate doctored videos. The region has been suffering a severe drought.

"The City urges consumers, where possible, to use suitable containers to capture rainwater, which is flawless for flushing toilets, as an example".

South African Weather Service communications director Hannelee Doubell said people should not take the warnings lightly.

"Residents living in informal settlements will probably be the hardest hit", Charlotte Powell, Cape Town city's disaster management spokeswoman said. "Outside they should tie down their belongings because we are expecting abnormally strong winds‚" she said.

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

"We must therefore continue to save water now and we can not afford to have our water use influenced by the weather - using less than 100l per person per day whether at home, work, school or elsewhere remains the requirement".

"Our primary concern is the safety of learners and staff", says Brian Schreuder, head of Education Western Cape.