Freak Cold Front Passes Through PE Causing Damage

JANUARY 16, 2015

A deep, intense cold-front passed through Port Elizabeth on Friday, packing strong winds of more than 60 km/h and rain. The strong winds were later reported in East London.

According to the SA Weather Services, which issued a severe weather warning in parts of the Eastern Cape and KZN for Friday, a cold front occurs where a large mass of cold air meets a mass of warmer air, and the cold air advances on the warmer air. The cold air undercuts the warm air pushing it upwards.

Cumulonimbus clouds form a well-defined line along the boundary between the air masses. As the cold front passes, the clouds roll by and the air temperature may become noticeably cooler, with temperatures dropping by 5 °C or more within the first hour. Rain, gusty winds, and, sometimes, thunderstorms occur with the passage of the cold front.

On synoptic (weather) charts a cold front is represented by a solid line with triangles along the front pointing towards the warmer air and in the direction of movement. On coloured weather maps, a cold front is drawn in blue.

A free community service project, SA Weather Reports, released the image below of the wind map showing intense wind along the Eastern Cape coast as well as winds associated with two tropical storms in the Indian Ocean.

Shirley Betsie Solomon, a PE resident twitted the image below after the strong winds blew her window out.

Another PE resident, Jessica Bryden, from Sunridge Park, twitted the image below. The strong winds snapped a tree in their yard into a “half frown emoticon” - fortunately no one hurt and the tree also just missed the road.

Top photo: Warm air meeting cold air in SA. Large temperature difference visible - EC and KZN - W/Underground