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Satellite view of snow over Western Cape 2 Jul 2016
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Satellite view of snow over Western Cape 2 Jul 2016

This Morning’s Terra Modis satellite overpass (10.55am on Sat 2nd)

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Sutherland Snow Chase – 6 August 2011

We stopped at the Spar in Worcester to purchase some

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The Cape Gets Snow

While the Western Cape continues to see beautiful sunny days

Cape Braces for Autumn Storm

Cape Braces for Autumn Storm

While it may only be late April, the eyes of Western Cape residents are fixed on a strong cold front set to make landfall on Friday 22nd. While rain had already begun to fall around the coastal areas of the province on Wednesday night, the real action is still forecast to occur on Friday afternoon.

A low pressure system which currently lies to the south west of the country is forecast to strengthen, and pass to the south. Central pressure when moving past is forecast to be as low as 976mb, with Cape Town and parts of the south coast of the Western Cape seeing surface pressures which could dip below 1000mb. Seeing pressures below 1000mb at sea level is quite a rare event in the Cape. With this low central pressure, the main focus of this front will likely be swell and wind related.

synoptic-chart-south-africa-22-april

Synoptic chart showing the current cold front which brought rain to the province on Thursday the 21st, as well as the low pressure to the WSW, which will be the system that deepens over the next 24 hours before bringing Gale Force winds and rough seas to the Cape.

surface-pressure-22-april-216

Image from 1stweather showing forecast pressures below 1000mb for parts of the Western Cape.

winds-cape-storm-22-april-2015

Image from 1stweather showing forecast wind speeds for the area. 40kt sustained winds are visible close to Cape Town, with astonishing 55kt (110km/h+) winds at sea to the south of the country.

Models are suggesting swell heights in excess of 8 meters possible around the Cape, and wind speeds sustained at around 60km/h with gusts possibly nearing 100km/h in places. Of course these outputs need to be taken with a pinch of salt and wind speed can vary significantly depending on location and elevation. Though it is safe to say that the models are forecasting the strongest storm of the year thus far for the Cape, and potentially one of the strongest in recent years if the model output were to materialize.

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Swell and Wind Forecast for Cape Town

Wind and swell forecast from Windguru

Aside from the large swell and hectic wind forecasts, good rainfall figures are also suggested by most the models with widespread rainfall in excess of 20mm likely, while other models suggest more aggressive rainfall figures in the range of 50mm in a short period, which could lead to localized flooding.

wind-speed-probability

Wind speed probability map showing the percentages for wind speeds in excess of 40kt.

It’s always tough to forecast the exact specifics of these systems as any deepening, weakening, or change in positioning of the system could change the forecast. However at this stage, we’re certainly watching this system with eager attention to see what it may bring the Cape.

Forum Discussion: Weather Event – 21/22 April 2016

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