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Gale force winds, icy weather and gigantic swells: Cold front hits western and southern coast


Children stand near the sea wall with over-topping waves

Children stand near the sea wall with over-topping waves

  • A storm “double the size of South Africa” is expected to cause massive sea swells along the western and southern coasts.
  • The SA Weather Service has warned of gale force winds.
  • Large swells and high waves pose a risk to boats.

A cold front has hit the western and southern coasts, bringing with it gale force winds, icy weather and rough seas, with gigantic swells, that are expected to last the weekend.

The cold front made landfall on Saturday afternoon.

On Friday night, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) warned of wave heights of six to nine meters (20 to 30 feet) between Lambert’s Bay and Plettenberg Bay. According to the weather service, gale force winds of 80- 85 km/h are expected along the south-west and south coasts and adjacent interior. High seas are expected to continue until Sunday evening.

It predicted heavy rain, which may lead to localised flooding in places over the western mountains, where rain of between 25 and 35mm is expected. As much as 50 mm is expected in some places.

Marine forecaster and Wavescapes founder Steve Pike told News24 on Saturday that residents could expect to see massive swells on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. He estimated waves of around nine to 12 meters (30 to 40 foot), and some as high as 18 meters (60 foot) in certain areas.

“The storm behind the swell is a million square miles of wind. It’s double the size of South Africa and it’s coming right onto us,” he said.

Because of this, the waves are likely to be of immense power and size. Pike suggested that ships or boats take shelter before conditions peak overnight.

The SAWS also issued a warning of gale force to strong gale north-westerly winds (60-80km/h reaching 100km/h of the coast) along the coastal regions between Saldanha Bay and Cape Agulhas, as well as over the Cape Metropole, Overstrand and Cape Agulhas municipalities.

These strong winds are expected to spread to Plettenberg Bay while becoming westerly from Saturday afternoon. In addition, north-westerly winds (50-60km/h) are expected over the Breede Valley, Central Karoo and Garden Route.

Power outages and trees were uprooted by strong winds in Cape Town area on Saturday.

Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre spokesperson, Charlotte Powell, said three dwellings were destroyed when a large tree was uprooted in Victoria Lodge informal settlement in Southfield. 

“Two structures were damaged in Lotus Park, Gugulethu, also due to a tree that was uprooted. More large trees were uprooted across the City in the following areas: Wynberg , Plumstead, Fish Hoek and Retreat. These incidents are being attended to by the recreation and parks department. Power outages were experienced in Philippi, Steenberg, Fish Hoek,  Kensington, Hout Bay Plumstead and Gugulethu. The electricity department will attend to all reported outages. Various roads across the city were flooded and these are being attended to by the transport directorate,” Powell said.

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