KNYSNA NEWS - South African Weather Service issued a warning of between 50 and 80mm of rain expected from yesterday and throughout today 13 November.
Areas to be affected by the warning of localised flooding include Mossel Bay, George and Knysna.
SANParks Marine Ranger in Wilderness, Jonathan Britton has confirmed preparation channels are in place at both Swartvlei and Touw River, two of the Garden Route National Park’s open/ close estuaries.
‘This significantly shortens the time required to open a channel through the sandbar. A channel typically takes 8 -10 hours to dig, with the preparation work in place it takes about 30-45min to open the estuary mouth’ says Britton.
Residents will also spot an excavator in Swartvlei and also in Touw River this afternoon. Driver operators and SANParks rangers will be monitoring water levels throughout.
Rangers and volunteers will also be watching the four (4) live weather stations closely, these include Buffelskop, Touw River, Corneliskop and Farleigh in the catchment areas. Residents can view information about live rainfall data which informs decision-making from www.iweathar.co.za. ‘Tides, swell direction and swell size are also constantly monitored as these are important factors that must also be considered during breaching’ according to Britton.
Water levels for Swartvlei are currently at 1.71m and those for Touw River are at 1.72m. The method used for opening and closing of estuary mouths, also known as ‘periodic artificial breaching’, results in an exchange between lake and marine water.’ Breaching of the Swartvlei system occurs water levels reach 2.0 meters above mean sea level and between 2, 1 to 2, 4 meters for the Touw River estuary. ‘The real time rainfall also informs us when it is required to open the mouths before the prescribed breaching heights.’
As a precautionary measure, the Park is closing two of its popular hiking trails close to the Touw River including the Half Collared Kingfisher and the Brownhooded trails until after the rain, canoe hire has also been closed down.
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