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The Cape of No Storms

The Cape of No Storms
sir lowry's pass weather

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. Further north, lightning was witnessed in the far northern parts of the Western Cape and into the Northern Cape, but for Cape Town itself the trough merely brought some visually appealing altocumulus and virga.

According to the storm archive, the last decent thunderstorm event I could find for Cape Town was 15 November 2013, a year and a half ago.

Needless to say the past couple years have seen Cape Town in a thunderstorm lull with any activity being minimal in terms of severity. Granted, the Cape has never been known for its presence of severe thunderstorms, but after a few of the storms in the years between 2003 and 2005, it became clear that Cape Town was capable of producing some pretty special storms, with pigeon-egg sized hail present in one of these storms.

Users on social media shared their annoyance in the lack of thunderstorm activity.

Users on social media shared their annoyance in the lack of thunderstorm activity.

For storm enthusiasts down in the Cape, the lack of storms is an obvious annoyance, with each potential trough being met with wide starry eyes and a hope for something special. Unfortunately, even the troughs that do form and look good in the early model output tend to bring little in terms of thunder. Occasionally we have seen some mammatus form, and of course some rain from the troughs, but it seems that every time, the instability isn’t there or the moisture isn’t there.

How long will it be before the Cape sees its next real thunderstorm. April and May are generally an excellent time for activity, so we may still have a chance before winter sets in and the odds diminish a bit.

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