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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 3 September 2018

A crazy week of weather, including radical rain and huge SE swell, is heading for the East Coast as a volatile cutoff low pressure morphs into view on Thursday, writes Spike.


HARD RAIN: Is going to fall, as Bob Dylan might have sang. Screengrab from Windy.com

If the Global Forecasting System, that digital harbinger of atmospheric hope, is to be believed, East London will get 188mm of accumulated rain over the next 10 days, with the bulk of that falling on Thursday and Friday this week.

Not only that, but a proper swell comes with the deluge, and from a southeasterly direction at that, which will no doubt prick up a few ears.

Come late tomorrow and early Wednesday, it’s all moving into place as a cold front sweeps over Cape Town, and another low forms in front of it over Port Elizabeth. The two systems track along the coast, bringing strong SW winds.


LONG FETCH: The wind fetch around the storm is 1000 miles long. Photo Windy.com

ecape-eastBy Thursday, the second system falls away out to sea, while the first continues splinters into two sections, one off northern KZN and another just off East London, both deepening and the rain begins, with heavy falls in parts between Plett and Kei Mouth. By Thursday night, these areas of low are surrounded by High pressure and totally cut off and isolated from the Roaring Forties in the south.

Unsettled weather and heavy rain falls for two days in the Eastern Cape. By Friday morning, the low represents a large scattered area off the coast between PE and Durban. By now it’s down to 1007 mb and strengthening. Heavy rain is falling in the Eastern Cape, and a very long wind fetch (1000 miles) builds around the western edge of the system, with strong SE winds.

The focus of the swell will be the Eastern Cape at first. Expect building 8ft+ SE windswell all day Friday, peaking Saturday at solid 10-15 ft, and lasting for a few days, turning on all points that like East. By Saturday, the storm triangulates 300 miles from PE and 220 miles from EL and the wind is going like the clappers, with central pressure of 1005. By Saturday night, it’s 1000 and has quickly moved to a spot 500 miles SE of East London


SEASONAL CONFLICT: Two areas of low pressure begin to form early on Friday. Photo Windy

Strong SW winds move up the Eastern Cape and to KZN on Saturday, fading from the west late Saturday and into Sunday. By now, Sunday, there is dik S to SSE swell all along the East Coast, with the South Coast building and becoming a solid 8ft or more.

By Saturday night, the low is dropping away as it deepens (995mb) and it’s rapidly becoming a normal storm, although the SE fetch is still there and still producing swell, which means the swell lasts well into the following week along the East Coast.

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