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Heavy Rains Continue in Cape Town

Heavy rains continued to pile onto already saturated ground on Monday the 13 July 2009, on the 12 July 2009 a 24 hour rainfall of 91mm was measured in Somerset West with a further 31mm falling between 7pm on July 12th and 7am on July 13th.…

Articles Historic Archive

Glossary of Terms

Beaufort Scale The Beaufort scale is used to estimate wind damage in the same way tornadoes winds are mostly measured, by assessing the damage present. Wind speed (km/h) Designation Description < 2                            calm                          smoke rises vertically, trees do not move 2-5                             light air                      smoke drift indicates wind direction 6-11                           light breeze                weather vane moves, leaves rustle 12-19                         gentle breeze              leaves and twigs in constant motion 20-29                         moderate breeze         dust and loose paper raised, small branches move 30-38                         fresh breeze               small trees sway 39-50                         strong breeze             large branches move, wind whistles wires 51-61                         moderate gale           whole trees move, walking affected 62-74                         fresh gale                  twigs brake of trees, walking difficult 75-86                         strong gale                slight structural damage occurs, branches break 87-100                       whole gale                 trees uprooted, considerable structural damage 101-118                     storm                        widespread damage 119+                         hurricane                   severe and extensive damage Bow Echo A bow echo is another possible tornado signiture which can sometimes form along a squall line.…

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The Cape of No Storms
Articles Historic Archive

The Cape of No Storms

Altocumulus move in with the trough, as seen from Sir Lowry’s Pass, 50km east of Cape Town. Last week we discussed the thunderstorm possibilities tied to an upper trough that moved down from Namibia, over the Northern and Western Cape. Unfortunately for chasers in the Cape, as has seemingly become standard, the system never brought with it the activity that was hoped for and instead Cape Town once against found itself missing out.…

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February 2000 – Tropical Cyclone Eline
Articles Historic Archive

February 2000 – Tropical Cyclone Eline

Tropical cyclones are not uncommon in the South and South West Indian ocean but rarely do ones come as close to making South African landfall as Tropical Cyclone Eline did. Eline started out as a consolidating area of low pressure to the far east of Madagascar and about 2500 km east of Mauritius on the 8 February 2000, typically with tropical cyclones that form in this vicinity they progress towards the south west and then turn south as they encounter weaknesses in the high pressure ridge.…

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Articles Historic Archive

1999 Cape Town – Manenburg ‘Tornado’

On the 28 August 1999 Cape Town was subject to some rare, strong thunderstorms. Cape Town is not known for their thunderstorms and in fact only a handful occur each year with years passing between severe thunderstorms. In the late night hours of 28 August 1999 thunderstorms wrecked havoc in the Manenburg area.…

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Articles Historic Archive

16 May 1984 – The Perfect Storm

The 16 May 1984 storm is the strongest storm in the Cape Town area in recent history, and unlike the Great Storm of 1865 there was the presence of modern meteorological devices such as anemometers and satellite imagery. The storm of May 1984 was by definition an extremely deep extra-tropical depression which occurred when a low pressure area of a cold front became occluded and underwent what is called explosive cyclogenesis (the process of an occluded low pressure system rapidly deepening).…

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Articles Historic Archive

1969 Tulbagh and Ceres Earthquake

The Ceres earthquake of 1969 remains the most destructive earthquake in South African history. The earthquake occurred on the 29 September 1969 in the Ceres/Tulbagh area and registered an alarming 6.3 on the Richter scale, stronger than that of the 1809 Cape Town earthquake which destroyed a local Milnerton Farm.…

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Articles Historic Archive

4 December 1809 – Milnerton Earthquake

On 4 December 1809 residents of Cape Town were witness to a rare powerful earthquake in the Western Cape, according to reports the 1809 Cape Town earthquake which occurred beneath what is now Milnerton, took place in the latter period of the night at around 10pm.…

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Articles Historic Archive

17 May 1865 Great Storm

Though little information is available online as to the details of the 1865 Great Storm, there are a few facts which have trickled down in documentation over the past 150-odd years. The Great Storm as it became known was an extremely strong cold front which impacted the Cape Town area on the 17th May 1865.…

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