This week, the worst storm in thirty years hit Cape Town and the Western Province wreaking havoc on the peninsula and inland. How crazy to go from drought conditions to flooding; with snow on the inland mountains and fires down the coast in the Knysna area. Galeforce winds gusting up to 100km/hour, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and houses. The shack dwellers in the informal settlements were hardest hit and nine deaths have been reported.
During a lull between advancing squall lines and the torrential rain we managed to get out to check the surrounding area and to the Good Hope Nature reserve to see how the animals were faring. The wind gusts were ferocious and most animals were hunkered down or had found shelter out of the wind. A most unusual scene was a Cape Mountain zebra galloping along a beach to get to the lee of the land.
Opportunistic baboons were out foraging mostly taking advantage of the moist soil to dig for corms/bulbs while the Plateau Road troop appeared to be finding grubs in an area where there were old wood piles.
The wild sea conditions were truly a sight to behold, the breaking waves on the Atlantic side came thundering through with such powerful thrust that huge banks of sea foam built up way above the tide line. We’ve been warned that not much rain fell in the catchment areas and the dam levels remain critically low.
For other gallery pics, check out the EWN site – http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/07/gallery-the-cape-of-storms
40 thoughts on “Cape Storm”
Great reporting Liz. Wow. So much rain and loss of life for so little return to help drought conditions. So distressing and sad. You’ve captured wonderful images.
Thanks for commenting, Mary. Crazy times! While this end of the country cries for consistent rainfall, the severe drought tesolved with good rains in time for planting wheat and now bumper crops are expected.
Sad report from over there – over here the draught cannot be compared of course, but the water is very low and farmers worry. This winter was tough for the Sami people and their reindeer, because the animals could not find food. This due to the strange weather with jumping temperatures which make the ground icy and impossible to break to get down to the food.
Thanks for the comments, Ann-Christine. It’s a worry that there is less rainfall generally. Hearing that the scientists are saying the effects of climate change are here and now for the ‘resilience imperative.’ All well and good to plan for the extremes when it’s budgeted; here in South Africa there are other dire needs ahead of climate…..
Yes, dire needs all over the world…but we have to deal with all of them…
Sad to read that the animals suffer – reindeers unable to get to their food; drought here is a killer for the wildlife.
Many suffering animals – and people. And more to come…
Afraid so, climate change is here and happening!
Adjust or die.
We heard about that atorm down here in oz…. may it rain for you!
News events getting world coverage! Thankfully it has continued to rain, soft gentle soaking rain. The kind we need to penetrate the soils. Thanks Therese.
I read about the storm and fire and thought of you. Glad you are okay.
Seeing a zebra running on a beach is not something you see every day!
The zebra was something quite magical! These extreme weather events are becoming scary that they occur more frequently round the world. Climate change is upon us!
Sadly, it is. It is even more distressing that those in power are intent on doing nothing about it. They fiddle while Rome burns.
The immense power of nature! So sorry to hear though that the storm didn’t do much at all to alleviate the drought conditions.
Yes, so much water yet so little penetration into the soil; or in the catchment area. Praying for solid rain for the next three months!
We’re praying with you!
Great reportage for your readers. Your photographs capture the essence of what is also important rather than merely the spectacular in terms of waves and fire. Well done on giving us the ‘under cover’ news – I appreciate that. I particularly enjoy the photograph of the zebra on the beach – a novel sight for me.
Thanks Anne. Hasn’t it been a tough week – so many displaced people. Just hearing that the fires in Knysna are now under control. An enormous disaster – homes lost; the loss of life. Scary. And all this before we’re ready for “Resilience Imperative.”
I know little about wildlife behavior in response to severe weather and related environmental threats, and I’m usually left with more questions than answers. Your interesting report shed a little light on the subject! Hope your weather settles and the drought ends soon.
It’s curious that animals can detect impending storms. Apparently their acute senses are far more attuned to cues. Happily we have had steady rainfall for some days now – 1.6% increase to dam levels – but still a long way to go. Holding thumbs!
We have had a blustery week too, with high winds (but not as high as yours, thank goodness) that have caused havoc in the garden. How exciting to see the zebra on the beach, not a common occurrence! But how sad that lives were lost and much damage was caused and still the dams are on empty 😦
It’s a concern that climate change is here upon us with this whacky weather. Was so taken with the zebra – have a niece who rides horses and could tell me it was in a full gallop! We’re hoping for our winter rains…. have had a 1.6% increase to the dam levels these past few days. Need to have a lot more falling in catchment areas.
The zebra shot is brilliant Liz. I feel for those poor people in the settlements who probably had very little even before the storms.
Quite the most unusual sight, that zebra was in magnificent stride! Yes it’s sad that the people in the informal settlements are hardest hit here in the Cape. Some areas had been affected by fires to heap more hardship onto their sorrows. Though the City have teams of emergency workers and the shelters were set up in advance. Now for the rebuild and getting people back into shelters.
It’s interesting to see the animals’ reactions to the change in weather, especially when it’s a brutal change. Thank you for allowing those beautiful species to have a voice…
Always appreciate your comments, Lisa. There was quite a drop in isobar pressure, and i’m guessing that the animals are in synch with this. Interesting to see their fur/ hides puffing up to keep thermo temperatures regulated.
Thanks Spokie. It was wild, those stormy days!
Yes, a wild wilful storm, full of temptuousness and beauty.
Storms are actually fascinating. They make for some fantastic photography
If nature turn vulnerable, human beings fall endangered….so such an outlook for nature is the need of time as done in this article.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, with climate change effecting the planet, we need to change our habits – and become resilient to these awful weather catastrophes.
This is my first sighting of a zebra on the beach! Magnificent impressions, Liz. I’m glad to see you aare all ok.
Yes, our Cape Mountain zebras are turning ‘coastal’ 🙂 There was quite a bit of mopping up, damage to some areas; and hardest hit were the informal settlements. Heart goes out the the shack dwellers at this time of the year.
Poor dwellers! We have 1-2 high tide floods in North Norfolk almost every year and last year was devastating. Enormous damage to the reserve and dead seals on the other side of the street , like 1 km away from the beach.
And it takes weeks for the water to disappear. The pics on our “Wetland” was taken a few days after the stormflood.
Oh, my, I’m just so happy, I’ve discovered your site.
Thank you Beach Books i certainly appreciate the visit!