St George’s Cathedral takes a hit during storm

The oak tree was uprooted at St George’s Cathedral.

An old oak tree in the parking lot of St George’s Cathedral was uprooted by the storm last night and came crashing down into the church’s fence.

Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, Reverend Michael Weeder, said he arrived at the church around 8am to find a window blown open and parts of the cathedral flooded.

The cathedral was one of several buildings and homes across the city which have been flooded.

Roads have been closed, trees have been uprooted, and people have been evacuated following heavy winds and downpours which wreaked havoc across the Western Cape.

The South African Weather service issued a Level 9 warning on Sunday September 24, and Premier Alan Winde, in a digital update this morning, assured residents that the Western Cape Government and its stakeholders were doing all they can to mitigate the damage.

Speaking to the CapeTowner, Reverend Weeder said the tree, which could have easily been over 100 years old, had previously caused damage to a car four years ago, but an application to have the tree removed was rejected by Heritage Western Cape.

While Reverend Weeder understood why the application was rejected, he said the wind “did not wait for permission this time”.

He said the damages to the cathedral were being assessed and would take roughly a month to fix, however, the cathedral’s operations were not affected.

Reverend Weeder said while the incident was a tragic one, he was pleased that no one was hurt. “We need to be mindful now of what help is needed. If this happened to our building, imagine how it affected peoples’ quality of life around the city. Our prayer should be for these people, and for solidarity.”

A statement by the City’s head of disaster management, Charlotte Powell, said the roof was also blown off a private property in the city centre.

Ward councillor Ian MacMohan said there were reports of lots of fallen trees around the city bowl and debris in the roads, however, up to now, there were little reports of major damage being done to infrastructure.

He said he’s received reports of two cars damaged by fallen trees at Hope Street gardens, as well as a number of electrical issues.

A car at Hope Street gardens was damaged by a fallen tree.

He urged people to log requests via the City’s C3 notifications system.

“Our teams are out there, but it is still raining. We urge everyone to please be safe, and if you need to drive, proceed with caution because the roads are wet and there are incidents still being reported.”

Mr Winde has urged residents to stay home and safe, and to be cognisant of storm damage in their roads and surroundings.

Assessments on the extent of the damage will be carried out in due course when it is safe to do so.

There are numerous road closures. Amongst many others, the N2 is closed at Bot Rivier, with traffic being diverted at Swellendam, and the N1 between De Doorns and Worcester is currently closed with traffic being diverted via Wolseley, Ceres and Trompsberg pass.

For any questions or concerns, call the Western Cape Government call centre at 0860 142 142.