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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa's tourist hub of Cape Town was braced for its worst winter storm in 30 years on Tuesday and had closed schools and activated emergency protocols with flash floods, heavy rain and mudslides expected within hours, city officials said.
South Africa's Weather Service said the storm, expected to hit land at about 2000 GMT, could also dump more than two inches of rain in some areas and make waves of up to 12 meters (yards).
Millions of people in shanty towns, already having to cope with the the region's worst drought in a century, have historically borne the brunt of bad weather, with floods and heavy rain washing away homes built of planks and zinc sheets.
"Residents living in informal settlements will probably be the hardest hit," Charlotte Powell, Cape Town city's disaster management spokeswoman said.
She said the army, police and other emergency services were on stand-by to evacuate anyone stranded by the storm and to provide emergency shelter and food.
The provincial education department sent out a circular closing schools on Wednesday as a precaution.
"The storm may damage some schools, which may could place learners and staff at risk," the department said in a statement.
Schools will reopen on Thursday when the storm is expected to have subsided.
Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Louise Ireland