Despite the recently declared El Nino, known for inhibiting tropical
This weekend saw wintery weather continuing to dominate parts of the country, these conditions were most felt in the Western and Eastern Cape where snowfalls took place on the night of Monday 30th May and into the morning of the 31st. The rain had already started by Saturday for much of the Western Cape, while Sunday morning allowed for a period of cloudy conditions prior to the arrival of the next front which arrived later on Sunday afternoon. This second front was accompanied by some very strong un-forecast winds. Winds were only forecast to reach 30km/h on Sunday, but by nightfall stations around the Cape Town and Boland area were reporting sustained winds of around 50km/h and possibly higher, with some gusts even stronger than that. The increased wind speed is likely due to what appeared to be an increase in the pressure gradient due to a deepening system and a ridge to the north west.
On Monday morning resident of certain areas around the Cape opened their doors to some minor debris from the wind the previous night. In Somerset West there were numerous small branches in the road. Monday continued to prove an exciting day with several lightning events being associated with the cold front. At around 17:00 on Monday the 30th May 2011 the main attraction arrived; A 50dbz cell which passed over the area bringing with it lightning, winds and very heavy rainfalls. In a matter of 10 minutes, I’d estimate about 15-20mm fell, this caused some flash flooding with water in the Somerset West main road passing over the curb and reaching some of the shops along the road.
With winter only just beginning it seems that we are set for an exciting one this year, the past few years have been interesting in some regards with the 2009 storm which dropped over 100mm of rain within 16 hours, but the wind events have been rather dull, until now it seems. Models continue to show that winter will be here to stay with temperatures remaining mostly below the 20’C mark for the Cape Town area. Though the next 5 odd days should see the rain let off on Cape Town for a while, though the temperatures not too much.
Below is a video that I recorded just after finishing work in the Main Road in Somerset West. The sound isn’t great, it’s a mixture of people too scared to run to their cars, wind, rain and thunder.