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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Wed, 7 June 2017

Nine deaths have been reported in Cape Town, while fears increase of a destructive storm tide in Cape Town as an almost spring high tide and peak swell begin to converge, reports Spike.


BEACH GONE: This is Noordhoek beach at the peak of the storm tide. Pic Seb Van Greunen


With mostly poor coverage on broadcast media, Cape Town residents have taken to social media to report on the #CapeStorm #DikWednesday storm that made landfall last night and continues to strengthen into the afternoon.

Already nine deaths (four from the same family) have been reported, with many injuries from flying debris, and widespread damage across the Western Cape. Many roads, including highways, were closed across the Western Cape this morning due to fallen trees and other debris.

The roof of Bergvliet High School was blown off, as well as other buildings, while severed power cables brought numerous power outages. There was carnage across informal settlements, with hundreds homeless as severe winds hit 125 km/h this morning (recorded by a wind meter at Cape Point).

Reports from Noordhoek are that the sea has pushed right up the beach, and that was at low tide this morning. A weather station reported a gust of 96,6 km/h at Noordhoek. In Newlands, 36mm of rain had fallen by noon today, with heavy showers continuing on and off all day. Cavendish Square was evacuated after parts of its roof blew off.

At a media briefing with Disaster Management, officials said that storm and wind activity will increase in severity this afternoon, and a warning has been issued to stay away from the beaches. Chapmans Peak is closed (fears of mudslides) as well as Cape Point Nature Reserve.


STORM TIDE: Huge surf is getting bigger as tide fills in. Noordhoek flooded already. Photo Webcam

"Here in Sybrand Park the storm has been pretty hectic, a street light knocked over, and some trees, a section of the neighbourhood cordoned off as the street light is sparking, Disaster Management are on the case, the wind is blowing wildly, very weird weather comes in bursts and gusts, and then for a brief moment there is sun and silence and then the wildness again, apparently the worst is yet to come ?? #CapeofStorms" said Colleen Higgs on Facebook.

The worst of the storm is due from noon until 4pm this afternoon, a second phase if you will, when another burst of heavy rain, another surge of westerly gales and a giant 50ft swell all converge to create further carnage. Expect consistent gusts in excess of 110km/h.

The main concern is that a possible storm tide (the combined effects of the normal tide and the force of the shoreward push of giant deep-energy waves and onshore gales blowing straight at the shore) could cause major damage.


EMPTY LINEUP: Muizenberg looks small still. Wait until tomorrow. Photo Webcam

While many people have been claiming that this is a 'normal Cape Town winter storm', the data is indicating otherwise. While the computer models show forecasts that don't seem that fearsome, you have to take into account that theoretical maths is not always the same as on-the-ground conditions.

When wind has sustained gusts to 110km/h and the rain is a deluge, the severity of the conditions become disconnected from the math. Stand under an old oak tree and you can test that theory til the cows fly home. There is also Dynamic Wind Fetch, when the storm rolls over the swell for days, both travelling at the same speed, which the models do not always compute correctly.

Also, the on and off nature of the storm, when patches of sunlight alternate with strong rain showers, make it appear more innocuous but it really depends on where you are.

We can expect individual swells of 65 ft this afternoon although models are calling 10metres or so. When that comes over the pushing tide, you are going to see millions in damage along the water fronts of the Cape Peninsula and West Coast. Be safe out there.


NIGHT FALL: A tree near the N2 out in Bellville was blown over as the storm arrived last night.

Here are some interesting posts

Liezel van der Westh (@liezelv) tweeted at 10:32 AM on Wed, Jun 07, 2017:
How insane are these waves!? Dont go walk along beach to take photos! Be safe! #capestorm #capetownstorm Cc @WavescapeSA @spike_wavescape ! https://t.co/0zfxpvfiUu

Daddy @LifeisSavage
Wind speed picking up considerably along the Atlantic Seaboard now. No beach visible next to Sea Point pool. Foam into car park. #capestorm

Andre Reddy (@reddy_andre) tweeted at 10:21 AM on Wed, Jun 07, 2017:
#capestorm @KFMza outside my house this morning. Well done @CityofCT for speedy response. https://t.co/Jg7W5llgFh

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