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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 8 January 2018

A long period east swell has set Durban in its sights as Cyclone Ava begins to peep out from SE Madagascar after her weekend of rabble rousing down the island's east coast, writes Spike.


EXTREME WIND BAG: Ava will tonight be packing gusts to 56 kts. Screengrab Windy.com

Three days ago, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a cyclone alert for Ava - the first tropical cyclone of the season - as it deepened off the NE tip of Madagascar. Ava made landfall in the NE part of Madagascar on Friday, and spent a rabble-rousing weekend of wild weather carousing down the east coast.

Heavy rain and widespread damage came with wind speeds of more than 150km/h. As predicted by meteorologists, she accelerated rapidly as she approached her hell-raising run then slowed spitefully to maximise her effect.

Early yesterday, Ava began to detach from the coast, and began to rejuvenate herself, fed by warm oceans and nice moist conditions, deepening again to 990mb. This central pressure holds steady as she slowly tracks south to southeast. Tonight she packs 50 knot gusts, and produces a 16 second groundswell that radiates westwards towards the KZN and Mozambique coast.


The swell starts to arrive on Friday, building all day to potentially 4-6' on New Pier with a direction a few degrees north of straight east, slowly becoming almost due East from when the storm moved south. However, at the moment, a fierce spate of beasterly east onshore is due to kap Durban, so don't hold your breath for epic surf.

With the waiting period for the Cell C Goodwave due to open on 20 January, this is an interesting early heads up, and hopefully an earlier harbinger that augurs for a cranking cyclone season.

Réunion and Mauritius are getting some intense daily tropical downpours todayAs Ava departs Madagascar, life-threatening flooding and mudslides have apparently continued to impact the region, while Réunion and Mauritius are getting some intense daily tropical downpours today. Rainfall is apparently going to be heaviest on Réunion. Already Saint-Denis has been inundated with more than 400 mm betweeen last Wednesday and Saturday morning.

The SW Indian Ocean cyclone season officially begins on 15 November and ends 30 April. Last year we had a quiet one, with just five systems reaching ‘tropical storm’ status.

Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, "Hurricane Ava (as part of the naming convention that alternates every four years and in different oceans) was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. It was the first named storm of the 1973 Pacific hurricane season.

"Forming in early June, Hurricane Ava eventually reached Category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the first Pacific hurricane to do so in June and the earliest ever in a season. Its central pressure made it the most intense known Pacific hurricane at the time. Despite its intensity, Hurricane Ava stayed at sea without significant impact."

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