Cape Town braces for 'extremely windy' weekend as strong gusts lash city, shut down Table Mountain cableway

2020-01-17 13:19
People struggle to keep balance during strong winds in the Cape Town CBD. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

People struggle to keep balance during strong winds in the Cape Town CBD. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

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Cape Town is set for a windy Friday and weekend as strong gusts lash the city.

"The average winds are between 30km/h to 40km/h and gusts going up to 60 to 70km/h," South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Kate Turner told News24 on Friday.

The strong wind has forced the closure of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, with the reported gusts at the top of Table Mountain reaching just over 100km/h, Traveller24 reported.

"We are closed: Adverse weather conditions," the company tweeted.

The strong wind is being caused by a pressure gradient between a low and high pressure system.

"The tight pressure gradient between the high and low pressure systems along the coast is causing the high wind speed," SAWS forecaster Kgolofelo Mahlangu told News24.

'Normal for Cape Town'

She warned that the wind would likely increase in strength over the weekend.

"It can pick up to 30 knots [55km/h] and gust to 35 knots [64km/h] at times throughout the day. Tomorrow the wind will pick up speed as that high pressure comes in," Mahlangu added.

Cape Town's disaster readiness department said that there was no immediate advisory for damaging strong winds.

"The South African Weather Service didn't issue any warnings for Cape Metropole. Wind can cause damage, but the weather office has a methodology," City of Cape Town Disaster Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell told News24.

The SAWS weather advisory warned of veld fire conditions in Langebaan as a result of high winds. Similar warnings were issued for Springbok in the Northern Cape and Tosca in the North West province.

Turner said that, while Cape Town was windy at this time of year, it was stronger than normal.

"We might be gusting up to 80km/h later today. This is normal for Cape Town to have wind speed increasing toward the afternoon.

"Today is an extremely windy day. It's one of those more windy than the normal ones and this will be the case for the weekend as well."

Despite the high wind, it is not comparable to a tropical cyclone.

"With a cyclone you need quite strong winds – about 65 knots (130km/h)," said Mahlangu.

"Usually, with the passing of a high-pressure system coming, those winds are pretty normal," she added in reference to the winds in Cape Town.

Read more on:    saws  |  cape town  |  weather

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