Veld fire warning for Makana as storms hit Cape

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Sue Maclennan @SusanMaclennan2

Yesterday’s  berg wind conditions, in Grahamstown and other parts of the Eastern Cape are expected to bring very strong winds today (Wednesday 7 June), possibly reaching gale force in the western and northern interior, with a sudden drop in temperatures on Thursday and Friday, according to the South African Weather Service’s Port Elizabeth office. And the Weather Service last night warned of veld fire conditions in the Makana area, and as far west as Addo and Koukamma,as the region awaits the severe cold front

Tomorrow morning (Thursday) could see light snow on the Sneeuberg, in the Graaff Reinet area, and the southern Drakensberg (Barkly East/ Elliot), and gale force westerly winds along the south coast.

Meanwhile, schools in the Western Cape are closed today and the City of Cape Town has been on disaster alert, as the peninsula braces for huge, destructive swells of up to 10 metres, flash floods and gale force winds today.

Rain in the Western Cape’s catchments is expected to bring some relief for the metro’s dire water situation; however, although the Eastern Cape will get its share of gale-force winds, storm tides and even snow on the mountains, this region will not enjoy similar high rainfall.

In a forecast issued this week, SAWS said a significant cold front was expected to reach Cape Town last night, spreading through the Eastern Cape by the early hours of Thursday. The strong winds and sudden drop in temperatures were of concern, forecaster Garth Sampson said.

Last night, SAWS showed severe weather warnings for most of the south-western part of the country. The Eastern Cape, including Makana, has a high risk of veld fires today.

Temperatures in Grahamstown are forecast to plummet from yesterday’s 28C high to a bracing 3C on Thursday morning (maximum 15C) and near-frosty 2C on Friday (max 16C). Today is forecast to range from 9C to 23C. The weekend is forecast to be warmer, with daytime temperatures a comfortable 23C.

SAWS said no significant rain is expected over the country on Friday.

“It will start clearing as the cold front exits the country. However, the high pressure system is expected to continue bringing colder air over the eastern and northern parts of the country.”

SURF’S UP

East Beach local and owner-coach at Port Alfred based Shaka Surf School, Dave McGregor says his home break could be too big to surf in the next few days.

“The golden rule of surf lessons is safety first,” McGregor told Grocott’s Mail. “And if East Beach is too big, there are safer options nearby.

“Experts are predicting a huge swell, wind and rain with the cold front,” McGregor said. “East Beach could be too big for anyone to surf.”

While SAWS predicts swells of up to 10 metres hitting Cape Town today, Wavescapes reckons they could be double that.

“The rain is coming, and the wind, and the waves: big time,” said the site, popular with surfers.

Explaining that the swell has been building up and travelling towards Cape Town for four days, Wavescape said the spring tide and strong wind on top of the already huge swell could mean swells of nearly 20 metres.

“We may have sea water pushed inland well past the normal shoreline,” Wavescape wrote.

 WATCH THE WAVES WITH GROCOTT’S MAIL
Tomorrow (Thursday) Grocott’s Mail plans to give you an up-to-the-minute look at the surf at East Beach in Port Alfred. Keep an eye on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/grocotts/

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