Tag Archives: rain

Summer rain in Cape Town

Summer rain in Cape Town
As I mentioned in my previous post - it's been raining for a few days in Cape Town. Traffic on Buitenchragt Street was more congested than normal with everyone being slightly more cautions (or nervous, rather) on the road.

We were talking about the rain earlier in the week and commented that while it's normal to have a few days of rain here and there in Summer, the amount of wet weather we've had seems to be somewhat higher than normal.

What's interesting is that when I looked back in my archives I found that I posted an article in January 2009 with a link to a page showing that Cape Town's historical average rainfall in January is about 11mm. I'm not sure how much rain we've had in the last 9 days, but I feel fairly sure that it's a lot more than the 11mm average.

Spring water… and snow

Spring water... and snow
Yes the title of this post is misleading... and rather clever, if I do say so myself. :) It's spring in Cape Town and after a warm couple of days it's started raining cats, dogs, piggies, lions and leopards.

It got extremely cold again today - like a winter's revenge kind of cold - and the rain has poured almost all day. And, as the title suggests, it appears that it's even snowed in Stellenbosch (albeit only on the mountain peaks)!

What I'm wanting to know is, who did what to provoke nature's anger?

Rainy days

Rain on road
After a few sunny days we woke this morning to rain poring from the skies as though someone had shifted our home from its sunny spot to a less-ideal location beneath a giant waterfall. Fortunately there wasn't much wind to speak of, so it's not been that bad, and I'm guessing our crops and dams could do with the odd bucket of rain. :)

Driving in the rain

Driving in the rain
There's something nostalgic about driving in the country when it's raining and the clouds are hanging low over the fields. It was freezing cold and the car's heater was on full-throttle; the windows were misting up, and the wipers lazily whooshed backwards and forwards across the drizzled windscreen. It was beautiful.

Slippery when wet

Slippery when wet
The name of this title reminds me of an album released a long long time ago.

I was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident about two years ago. I'd stopped my car at a wet intersection. I started to pull away once the traffic lights turned green, and at the same time a driver (from the opposing side of the intersection) turned across my path. I planted my foot on brakes as quickly as I could, the car's anti-lock braking system kicked in, but the road was too slippery - I t-boned the other driver's car on their passenger-side door.

Given the relatively low-speed at which I hit the other vehicle, I was somewhat surprised at the impact of the accident, and the amount of damage both vehicles sustained. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured - probably because all involved had been wearing their seat-belts. But, the jolt from the impact made me realise how seriously-hard an immovable object must be when traveling at any speed over 20km/h.

Wet ‘n soggy vineyards

Wet 'n soggy vineyards
The vineyards of Meerendal were particularly soggy and wet on Sunday. I jumped out of my car, into the cold wind and drizzle to take this photo. Once done, thoroughly cold and damp, I returned to a locked car containing three giggling occupants. Apparently I'd been locked out. Apparently it was funny. :)

Chilly-cold, rains and floods!

Rain drops on glass window
The weather turns really quickly in Cape Town. It can be sunny and warmish on one day, and icy-cold, wet, and stormy the next.

It rained so much in Cape Town on Saturday and Sunday that the banks of the Liesbeek River burst leading to the M3 highway (near UCT) being knee-deep in water! Take a look at the photos, and read this article on IOL.

Do the roads around your city ever flood? Isn't it scary when your car hits water that's deeper than you expect it to be?!

The girl with the green umbrella

Woman with the green umbrella
I shot the photo on Thursday - our last rainy day for a week or more it seems! The image reminded me of a movie that I saw a year or two ago in which the lead actress wrote a newspaper column under the name The Girl in the Green Scarf.

This perhaps isn't the most appropriate photo for 25 December, given that much of South Africa celebrated Christmas - sorry about that. :) Still though, if you also celebrated Christmas, I hope that you had a peaceful day, commemorating the occasion with those you love.

Bike in the rain

Bike in the rain
I've been posting photos of the beautiful summer weather that we've been having. For the past few weeks we've had a few days of warm weather followed by cold wet weather, followed by more warm summer days, followed by cloudy-rainy-windy weather.

I took today's photo two days ago - a very wet Thursday afternoon in Cape Town. The day started off cloudy with intermittent spots of sun. It then started drizzling a little, cleared up a little, and then rained down extremely wet and furry cats and dogs.

I think this bike's owner was hiding out in the coffee shop to the right of this pic. :)

My view from the Westin hotel

My view from the Westin hotel
I stayed over at the Westin hotel in Cape Town a few weeks ago. Tonight reminded me of exactly that night. It was cold, windy, and rainy. The overnight in the Westin was great - it really is a lovely hotel.

Unfortunately I never had one of the awesome rooms - the ones that face Table Mountain and the setting sun! So, if you plan on staying at the Westin, try to organise that you get a room facing Signal Hill's direction. :)

Below are a few more photos taken from my room on the 8th floor - a little later in the evening.

Wet roads and sunshine

Wet roads and sunshine
In yesterday's post I mentioned how dangerous slippery and wet roads can be. Something that this photo illustrates is how dangerous it can be to drive when the sun comes out after the roads have been rained wet.

I find it a little stressful to drive in unfamiliar places when the sun's glare on the road completely obliterates the markings and forces me to squint. Similarly, driving at night on unfamiliar wet roads into the bright lights of oncoming traffic is another thing that I really don't enjoy.

Don't you just hate driving in conditions like this? Wouldn't it be awesome if the rain would leave the roads alone and stick to falling on mountains, fields and in our gardens?

Remember to be smart and drive slower in poor conditions and when you can't see road markings clearly. Be safe and arrive alive.

Slippery wet streets

Slippery wet streets
I drive a rear-wheel drive car with a fairly powerful engine and no traction control. Even though I've been driving her for some time now, on wet days like this I'm still caught off guard by how easily the car's wheels spin when I pull away from a dead stop on a wet road.

I realised again a few days ago (when I took advantage of a normally-safe gap in traffic) that it's actually incredibly dangerous to momentarily forget that roads are slippery when wet. Fortunately I knew to reduce the power, gain control and re-accelerate - and fortunately the car coming at me from behind was actually going slower than I at first thought it was.

Who recognises this town? It's not too difficult, click to zoom - there's huge clue right there in the photo.

Highway of rain

Highway of rain

Whoa, where did all this rain come from? Kerry-Anne and I drifted out to Paarl to check out the "Persia to Paarl" festival that was being held at the Nederburg estate.

Sadly, on arrival we scoped out the scene and decided that it wasn't going to be worth the R160 entrance fee (for two of us)... so instead of photos of pretty dancers, lovely bottles of wine, or sparkling beaded jewellery, we bring you this somewhat grey, perhaps even depressing photo of a wintry Cape Town weekend. :( To be fair, it was raining kittens and puppies, so perhaps that was the reason for the festival appearing to be rather less exciting than we'd hoped it would be.

Perhaps next time, hey?

Cold weather sucks

Mud pools after rain
As Kerry-Anne wrote, it's been raining buckets in Cape Town. In addition to the rain though, it feels like it's been getting colder and colder with each passing day. As I write this post I'm wearing two pairs of warm pants, two pairs of socks, and four long tops - an unusual outfit, you must understand. I did a quick scan on our weather page and noticed that of the five weather stations that we monitor, the closest one to us (Durbanville Central) is the coldest at 9.2°C! Now, I know that 9.2°C isn't very cold for many of our readers, but you should remember, this is Africa!

We've often been told by visitors from abroad that the difference between South Africa and other cold countries is that our homes aren't geared for cold weather. We don't have particularly well-sealed windows or doors, I don't have a warm fire burning, there's no central heating, and nor do we have that awesome underfloor heating that a few of our friends are no doubt enjoying right now.

If you do find yourself visiting our city over winter, while you don't have to bring your snow gear along, do bring enough warm clothing, because it does get chilly every now and again.

The rain in Cape Town

Shortmarket Street in Cape Town

... falls mainly on Greenmarket Square. Well, not actually. The rain in Cape Town has been falling pretty much everywhere over the last day or two, and in rather large quantities too.

We had to go into the city for a friend's birthday party, and both wondered at times whether it wouldn't have been better to take a motorboat or canoe instead of our car. There's been flooding in quite a few areas, including Camps Bay, Newlands and Somerset West. Fortunately our neighbourhood seems to have escaped with a bit less rain than everywhere else, so we weren't affected in any way (apart from getting a bit wet walking from our car to the restaurant from which this photo was taken).

Of course, the great thing about Cape Town's winter is that we get all the cold, rainy weather in a few short, intense bursts, and for the rest of the time it's sunny and clear. ;-)

Driving rain

Driving rain

We woke up early this morning, with about 42 fire trucks blasting our house with their huge fire hoses. When the pounding water eventually held up, I looked outside and found that every single fire-truck and fireman had mysteriously disappeared without a trace... leaving behind pools of water all through our garden.

Oh alright... you saw right through my story, didn't you? It wasn't really firemen, of course, but rather the biggest and heaviest cloud that we've seen for a long while, unleashing all its rain in one enormous downpour. I must say, I'm not particularly looking forward to this winter; it's been icy cold this afternoon - around 11°C (which is freezin' for a Cape Town afternoon)!

We're heading off to a friend's birthday party at FTV in Cape Town this evening. It's storming outside, but Shana's convinced it's going to be hot inside. ;) I'll let you know tomorrow how it went!

Did rain put the fires out?

Woman in smoke
The Stellenbosch Fire Department received reports of 100 fires in only 72 hours, and Cape Town's fire department received 83 reports of fires during office hours on Friday alone! It seems as though the whole of Cape Town is on fire.

The Stellenbosch Fire Chief was quoted as saying "Everywhere. Every area." in response to being asked where fires had been reported. Apart from the Stellenbosch fires and the 83 other reports within the Cape Town city limits, fires have been reported in Somerset West, Clanwilliam, Gansbaai, Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay, Algeria, Moutonshoek, Philadelphia, Bellville, Tygerberg, Strand, Monwabisi and Blikkiesdorp.

Today the temperature hit 40°C, although fortunately the wind remained at bay until late this evening. In retrospect it seems as though the hot weather today was a blessing in disguise. Earlier this evening we had a few rain showers (caused by the warm air rising) that will certainly help dampen the dry veld, and at least slow down the fire's progression. So far it looks as though Stellenbosch has had just over 5mm of rain this evening. With weather reports predicting more rain, we can only hope that they're accurate and that tomorrow holds in store many more showers.

If you missed yesterday's post, take a moment to look through the photo album that I put together with photos taken just outside of Stellenbosch yesterday evening.

As I'm typing this post I can hear large drops of rain falling again. Awesome.

Relevant News Articles:
Cape Argus

Does it rain in January?

Tractor in the rain
Perhaps it's because January and February are normally so hot that I was surprised by the rain that we had today. I googled "cape town rainfall" and discovered a few sites showing that the Western Cape's historical rainfall is about 11mm in the month of January, increasing each month until it peaks at about 98mm in June, and then decreasing again to 13mm in December.

Our province experienced heavy water restrictions a couple of years ago and at the time it seemed as though everyone was installing well-points or bore-holes. I even tried to install one myself - this makes for an entertaining story. :)

At the time talk was going around that the government was considering placing restrictions, or perhaps levies, on the use of ground water for residential irrigation, due to the impact that the increased and uncontrolled use of ground water could have on the province's water table, and consequently on natural vegetation.

Read this interesting article for more information about the origin and use of groundwater in Cape Town.