Fri, 10 July 2020

Call that a storm? This is a storm. A ginormous punchbowl of purple mayhem is swirling towards us, and if you think that's too dramatic, read on, writes Spike.


4AM MONDAY: If anything, the European model ECMWF has upgraded the storm. Photo Windy

For many people, hyperbolic descriptions of the weather are not allowed. Enthusiasm is frowned upon, because it elevates (or denigrates) factual information to an uncomfortable level of drama and sensationalism.

WeatherSA, who have barely moved on from the days of their bored bureacratic style, are still locked in a mode of crusty number crunching. However, like in the old days, they still retain skilled artists who persist in those arty road maps of atmospheric pressure in the synoptic charts.

So it was with slight amusement to read a tweet by WeatherSA early this week: "The entire weather community in South Africa has eyes on the mammoth #coldfront developing in the South Atlantic (blue) this system, arriving Thursday, promises to bring heavy rains and widespread #snow to a great deal of SA and even #namibia if the system stays on track."

Glad to see things are a little more lively over there. Anyhoo! Truth is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s about perspective. As I have said, when you sit in a warm, dry house nestling in a cozy suburbs demarcated by walls and trees, you’re shielded from the mayhem that might be ripping the ocean to shreds and pulling trees from their roots at locations more exposed to the weather.


RAIN OVER NEXT 10 DAYS: We could be in for a massive injection of rain in our dams. Photo Windy

So I’ll try avoid too much excitement. However, don't bet on it. I just heard that my 'Weerhaan' weather column in Die Burger has been axed, thanks to that knob-headed little furry fuck beginning with C.

Today, we are hit by the second in a triple whammy of cold fronts. The first arrived yesterday. The worst is to come Sunday and Monday next week when Sturm Drang #3 smashes into us. Yusee! It is proper.


Crazy NW gales smashed inland areas yesterday, ripping through places like Beaufort West with solid showers hitting Cape Town from lunch time. The catchment got good rain. In fact, the 10 day accumulative forecast suggests 120 mm of rain in the mountains around Theewaterskloof. Listening to Cape Talk and some people have had 100mm in 24 hours, so this overall number could be way higher. What's the bet Cape Town dams hit 70 percent by Wednesday?

We are lucky that the first storm dipped so far south, pushed down by a strong 1031mb High Pressure system off the East Coast. Conditions would have been a lot worse.


GIANT SWELL: Snapshot from Windy taken on Monday morning when huge swell spreads east.


Now the second storm and front are here. The storm is virtually right on top of us, with a central pressure to 993mb. A messy 4-10ft swell is torn apart by strong NW that becomes a neargale SW by evening. A large inland area is again smashed by vicious NW winds.

Lows are down to 10°C on the coast, and 5°C inland, rising no more than a few degrees on the highs. However, more temperate in the upper and far Eastern Cape on the other side of PE with highs of 25°C or more. It appears that the rain from these two storms will merge into a two-day burst of rain, although this morning sees a lull before a drenching blast of heavy showers hits Cape Town from noon or so, with a big orange blob of hectic downpours reaching the catchment this afternoon, and deep snow on higher ground.

In fact, this afternoon, and particularly tonight, the freezing level drops to zero metres! Widespread snow could fall in the Karoo. By tomorrow, the weather tails off, the seas start calming, and winds ease to glassy variable N by arvi. We have an icy inland start with freezing temperatures, and a chilly 9-12°C on the coast. The surf looks much better, although you’ll have to be a grizzled big wave veteran to cope. Swell looks a solid 15ft all around the Cape on exposed coastline.

Expect a cold, cloudy day with showers that peter out all day, the clouds thinning out in the afternoon. Good news for the Kouga area is a period of good rain tomorrow. Highs barely move above freezing point inland, and stay cold on the coast.


GUSTY MONDAY: We can expect severe gusts of wind on Monday morning. Photo Windy


This storm is interesting. Pretty much all storms this winter have downgraded. I was interested today to see that this one seems to have upgraded. Either way, more hectic weather ahead. Everyone has been so fixed on the first storms of this sequence, this one has the potential to be the worst.

Certainly the first two soften us up for the KO. Before it arrives, a band of freezing air spreads across a huge chunk of South Africa, including a large inland area of the Cape overnight Saturday into Sunday. Expect lows of -5°C across large inland areas, and not only on the mountains, which could hit -15. The coast looks 10°C. A sunny, mostly clear day.

However, that is going to change, as the wind freshens all day, with proper wind overnight. The 960mb storm Humungous seas to well over 50 feet build all day along exposed coast of the SW CapeThe European model ECMWF has upgraded peak internal wind to 90 knot gusts!rumbles past as close as 400 miles from Cape Town at 4am on Monday. This is close, no more than the distance between the Mother City to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. The European model ECMWF has upgraded peak internal wind to 90 knot gusts! Its going nuclear at 4am on Monday morning. ECMWF is calling for 80 KNOT wind gusts in a wide band from roughly Betty's Bay to Ceres, at worst in the mountains. Driving up Sir Lowry's pass will be almost suicidal. More gales, rain and giant swell expected. If this all seems exaggerated, visit Windy.com, and plug in Wind Gusts for the model ECMWF.

Wind gusts are obviously the worst end of a wide spectrum of forecast conditions, but are useful in that they will tell the story in the aftermath if there was severe damage, and they give you a good warning. One gust to 84 knots is all it takes.

Even Cape Town cops gusts to 70 knots+, which is hurricane force. Huge rain and thunderstorms come with the carnage, and all day Monday the swell is just getting absolutely GIANT. We could be seeing some mountainous sets to 50 feet smashing the coast between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas. Humungous seas to well over 50 feet build all day along exposed coast of the SW Cape. In fact, our inhouse joke for when the swell reaches impossible size and energy "Run For your Life" is at play for our Cape Peninsula forecast at four time points tomorrow, 8am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm!

Savagely dangerous weather conditions. Be safe.


Janet Cole
0 #1 DrJanet Cole 2020-07-10 16:23
I was so disappointed to read that your Weerhaan column is ending- though I’m English-speaking I subscribe to Die Burger and have loved reading your articles. Anyway- thrilled to see that I can continue supping at the well of weather knowledge online! Please never stop.
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio


Sat Aug 08 08:34:42 +0000 2020

Saw this from the shops yesterday and rushed home just in time 😉 #sunsets #capetown #nightfall https://t.co/lLjED4ZqQe
Tue Aug 04 11:03:42 +0000 2020

Great commentary by Gigs Cilliers to summarise Round 1 of the inaugural #RipCurl_EPro_ZAF by @SurfOpenLeague. Go to… https://t.co/WO1eSCDKi7
Thu Jul 30 14:22:19 +0000 2020

Eastern Cape West -- It's cooking brah. Thursday fires 6-10ft open coast in stiff W busters in morning, easing all… https://t.co/VXpRvhxm1w
Thu Jul 30 14:14:44 +0000 2020

Southern Cape -- The waves be kraaking bru. Thursday fires 6-8ft open coast in strong W buster early that settles i… https://t.co/NGjN9y2QdS
Follow Wavescape on Twitter