Powerful winter storm kills at least 9 in Cape Town, South Africa

The strongest winter storm in recent years in Cape Town, South Africa, has claimed the lives of at least nine people.

Four of the victims were killed in a fire started by lightning, according to the BBC.

Destructive winds, flooding downpours and frequent lightning have battered the region Tuesday night into Wednesday.

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Huge waves slam into the promenade during heavy storms in the Sea Point neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Wind gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph) were common throughout the city, resulting in widespread downed trees as well as damage to homes. Many injuries due to flying debris were also reported by the BBC.

Downpours also caused flooding across the city with more than 25 mm (1.00 inch) falling in some locations.

More than 450 structures have been affected by flooding, according to the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Management.

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Huge waves slam into the promenade during heavy storms in the Sea Point neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
Huge waves churned up by the storm also produced widespread coastal flooding.

The storm did provide one benefit as it delivered much-needed rain. South Africa has been in desperate need of rainfall following two years of water shortages that have resulted in a drought declaration.

While one single storm will not end drought conditions, any rainfall is welcomed as two dams in the region had completely dried up in May, according to the BBC.

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Drier and calmer weather returning on Thursday afternoon will hold into Friday.

A new storm will deliver a new bout of rain and a gusty breeze on Saturday, but conditions are not expected to be as severe as earlier this week.

“The rain and gusty breeze will mainly disrupt cleanup operations,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

Showers will follow at times into the middle of next week, though no significant rainfall is expected.

Source: AccuWeather