Storms, strong winds and fires in South Africa

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  • Maximum wind gusts (mph) over S. Africa from 12 - 18 GMT on Saturday 10th May. Credit MeteoGroup.

    Maximum wind gusts (mph) over S. Africa from 12 - 18 GMT on Sunday 11th May. Credit MeteoGroup.

    Accumulated rainfall (mm) forecast over S. Africa (land only) from 00:00 Saturday 10th May to 12:00 Thursday 15th May GMT. Credit MeteoGroup.

  • Storms, strong winds and fires in South Africa
    10.06.2017 17:18

    A powerful winter storm hit the south coast of South Africa on Wednesday 7th June, bringing strong winds and heavy rain. It was the worst winter storm to affect the region in 30 years, according to the South African Weather Service.

    In Cape Town, nine people were reported to have been killed, including a family of four killed in a fire started by lightning. Wind gusts of over 50 mph were experienced in the city, resulting in damage and downed trees. Cape Town’s shanty towns were the worst affected areas with poorly constructed homes being washed away in flooding.

    The strong winds from the storm also fanned fires across South Africa which grew rapidly out of control. One of the worst affected regions was the Eden District, along the south coast of South Africa, and in particular the town of Kynsna. Over ten thousand people were reported to have been evacuated as a result of the fires. As of Friday, calmer weather meant that firefighters had contained 80% of the fires. However, gale force winds returned on Saturday and firefighting aircraft had to be grounded for safety reasons.

    The storm came after a two year drought in the region, which has caused two reservoirs to dry up. Despite the recent rainfall from the storm, reservoir levels remain very low and water restrictions are still in place and sustained rainfall over months to years will be required to replenish reservoir levels.

    Weather outlook for South Africa
    High pressure to the north, along with low pressure to the south on Sunday will continue to provide a pressure gradient, bringing fairly windy conditions which could aid further fires. However, into next week winds should generally ease as pressure will tend to build. Patchy rain will affect western parts of South Africa over the next few days but other areas will remain largely dry. However, more widespread rainfall is likely for a time on Wednesday.

     

     

     

     

     

    By: Callum Stewart