Day 104 – Tenuous tsunami parallels

Let’s make things clear right from the start here.

I’m not saying that Cape Town is going to get hit by a tsunami.
We’ve covered that concern here: something I would strongly advise you to read if you think that people are paranoid about Covid-19. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

They walk among us.

But I digress. Often.

One of the enduring images of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami was the drawback: the water disappearing from the shorelines of beaches and resorts about to be hit by the tsunami, effectively (some would say ‘exactly’) like a huge low tide.

In some places, this drawback was up to a kilometre. And in most cases, there was good correlation between the size of the drawback and the extent of the damage caused by the tsunami that followed.

If we ignore all scientific reason for a moment and apply this clear inverse proportionality to tomorrow’s predicted storm, I think we’re in trouble. Because today’s weather in Cape Town could not be calmer or more beautiful. So still. So clear. So utterly perfect.

Not a cloud in the sky. Not a breath of wind.

If only there were some term that one could use to describe such a period of placid weather ahead of a predicted tempest.

And yet… just out there in the bottom left corner:

A frothing mass of low pressure, general misery, howling winds and all the rain we didn’t get in 2017. All due to begin tomorrow afternoon/evening and then be followed in by a second front on Sunday into Monday.

And our eyes are already on another vicious lump of nastiness heading out of Uruguay towards SA like Luis Suarez’s poor sportsmanship and bad temper in 2010.

And possibly every bit as bitey.

But let’s just get through this weekend first. Here’s what we’re expecting to see at 0800 local time on Friday morning:

Big winds, much rain, huge waves, general unpleasantness.

In all seriousness though, it does look like quite a nasty one, so please look out for your community and maybe consider helping out your local shelter, which will obviously be under more pressure than usual over the next few days.

Day 94 – Wave, daddy!

[Glasto (2) post postponed for the moment, because…]

We went for a drive down the Atlantic Seaboard yesterday. Well… a bit of it, anyway.

Weather like yesterday’s can’t be ignored and we needed the fresh, unsullied air from the ocean.

There was plenty of it to go around, with some frothing chaos on Slangkop beach:

And some grim, stormy seas behind the lighthouse:

It’s always difficult to demonstrate the sheer scale of the seas in photos. So just suffice to say that I was very glad to be on the land and not on the water. Big waves. Big.

The weather was dark, moody and gloomy one minute:

But patchy sunlight scudded across the bay every now and again, giving some occasional delicious light:

 

You can see all the photos (that I felt were worth sharing) from yesterday here.

And you can come back here for that other Glasto-inspired post tomorrow.

Sunday looks like fun

Actually, Sunday looks like the first “proper” Cape storm of the winter.

Light your fires, batten down your beagles.

Traditionally, a large area of low pressure sits some distance to the south of the country and swings a huge arm of heavy rain towards the south west corner of Africa. That didn’t happen much during the 2015-17 drought (at least it did, but the arm often didn’t quite make landfall).

This one is going to make landfall.

The rain isn’t falling hard, but the cold front is going to take a good 12 hours to pass over the Cape and so we should expect plenty of wetness, continuing into Monday morning. Strongest wind and rain seems likely to be Sunday evening: Windguru suggests 65kph and 13mm at 8pm.

I love this sort of weather. Sadly, the worst of it seems to be set to be in darkness, limiting the ‘togging opportunities, but at least there’s the rest of the winter to look forward to, right?

Your Wednesday Thursday storm briefing

(Following on from your Monday Thursday storm warning and your Tuesday Thursday storm update.)

Hello, Thursday Storm fans (I’m looking at you, UtianG).
Another day, another lot of isobars.

It’s still coming; it’s still fairly large: there’s been no further relief on the pressure side of things since yesterday’s post. It has been slightly delayed by the traffic from the stop/go system for the roadworks near Tristan da Cunha, and thus we should only expect the worst of the rain late morning tomorrow.

Looking out of my lab window at the cloudless , windless Cape skies this morning, it’s hard to believe that we’re all going to die horribly there’s a cold front just 24 hours away. It’s all so calm and peaceful. And dry.

Here’s the latest synoptic chart, and while we’re all looking at what’s approaching the Western Cape tomorrow, it would be foolish to ignore that second low pressure area behind it which is making its way eastwards across the South Atlantic. At the moment, it looks like that’s going to hit the Cape overnight on Sunday and into Monday, ruining what was already going to be a pretty crappy morning for us all anyway. It’s not going to be as big as tomorrow’s excitement, but it’s a long way off and it does have the potential to change track and give us a proper battering.

But let’s get through tomorrow first, with Windguru predicting almost 40mm of rain over 24 hours for the Mother City, followed by an entirely dark, damp and dreary Friday.

Stay safe, drink red wine, toast a beagle on your log fire and do a crossword. Look after those who don’t have your luxuries: you can donate a bed for 5 nights at The Haven Night Shelter for just R60 without even leaving your chair. Click here and do your bit. I have. Or use Snapscan:

And please share this post (use the buttons below) and get others to do their bit as well.

And then come back for tomorrow’s post entitled:

Damp Squib: What Was All The Fuss About?

or:

Sweet Baby Jesus. We Are Actually All Going To Die!

depending on the prevailing meteorological conditions.

Thursday storm update

Windguru is still shouting about TONNES of rain and 80kph gusts of northwesterly air in Cape Town on Thursday morning, but a quick look at the synoptic charts for the South Atlantic actually indicate that things have calmed down just a little out there [points westsouthwest].

Now, I’m not doubting Windguru. It is, after all, the self-proclaimed guru on these sort of things. But there’s no doubt that the centre of that low pressure area is more diffuse and not as deep as it was yesterday.

If I was a betting man (I’m not), I’d be wondering about whether (no pun intended) this one is not going to pass a little further south than the original forecasts originally forecasted. That would mean that we’d just catch the tail end of the cold front, and that it might not be quite as bad as we were expecting.

I am going to add a couple of provisos here though: firstly, I’m not a professional weather forecaster. Some would say I’m not professional at all, and there are times when I’d find it difficult to argue with them. Secondly, “not quite as bad as we were expecting” is relative, as we were actually expecting it to be really, really bad. So even if I’m right, it might still be really bad.

Of course, the closer the actual event, the more accurate the forecast can be. And that’s why we’ll be having another look at this tomorrow. Follow on Facebook here and don’t miss this (possibly) incisive commentary on the approach of (possibly) the biggest storm of the year.