Please see UPDATES at bottom of post.
It’s early days, but I thought I’d post this just as a heads up for those of us in the Mother City, currently lapping up the 25°C temperatures, the cloudless skies and the wall-to-wall sunshine (and those walls are a long way apart, meaning LOADS of sunshine; heaps of the stuff), while ridiculing those in chillier climes. I’ve just got an email from the people who do the PR for winter in the Western Cape, and they say:
WINTER IS NOT OVER JUST YET.
In fact, it would seem that winter is going to make a full-on, slightly belated reappearance in Cape Town on
Friday Saturday evening, when this little puppy is due to make landfall:
That pathetically diffuse little thing off the east coast is the system that recently brought snow to Jo’burg and icy cold to Durbs.
But that’s not important right now.
You should rather be looking at the orangey circle with the pink middle, slightly to the left of the image above. The lightest pink, as you can see by the scale above, indicates winds of 55 or above. Big wow. And indeed no, it doesn’t sound too bad until you realise that that isn’t 55kph, the wind units we’re used to seeing on our weather reports. That’s actually 55 knots or above.
I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and >55 knots means >102kph.
That rates as a Violent Storm Force 11 on the Beaufort Scale, just short of a hurricane. Gnarly, man.
That’s what is heading our way and that’s what is likely to give us a bit of a hectic weekend, similar to this one back in August 2008. [some photos here]
If memory serves me correctly, the centre of that 2008 cyclonic system dropped to 967mb and, on a scale on which lower numbers mean bad news, the fact that this one is down to 957mb should be of some concern.
Already, surfing websites are gleefully predicting almost unprecedented 12 metre swells on Sunday, but if you are sensible like me and prefer dry land, then it looks like it’s time to lock up your goats, wrap yourselves up warm and get your camera out for some epic big wave pictures.
Stay safe, people.
Disclaimer: Meteorology is not an exact science. It’s early days, and we could get lucky/unlucky (depending on your point of view) and this could miss us completely/partially or not at all.
UPDATE (Weds): Wavescape says “Colossus” is likely to hold its position and notes that the depression is set to deepen. (Lower numbers are bad news, remember?). Latest models predict big seas, but possibly lower winds.
UPDATE 2 (Thurs): High Pressure to the rescue? Somehow, a strong ridge of high pressure seems set to force itself between the storm and the continent. Which is nice.
Tonight’s cold front isn’t going to do much, but we should now expect some grey, wet weather on Sunday before some rather strong south easterly winds on Monday. It’s been a weird winter.
UPDATE 3 (Mon): OK, so the winds didn’t really arrive. The waves though? They did:
Pic – Nic Bothma