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EXPLAINED: Storm surge caused flooding seen on Amsterdamhoek, Port Alfred roads

Oct 30, 2019
EXPLAINED: Storm surge caused flooding seen on Amsterdamhoek, Port Alfred roads

Port Elizabeth - The Port Elizabeth office of the South African Weather Service on Tuesday sought to explain videos clips shared on social media of flooding on the roads at Amsterdamhoek and Port Alfred.

"Although relatively rare, it is basically  caused when certain weather conditions occur at more or less the same time," said Garth Sampson, SA Weather Service Client Liaison Officer for the Eastern Cape Region. 

"One must have a spring high tide, high seas and strong westerly winds.

"It’s the first time, other than during floods, that I have seen the roads in Amesterdamhoek flooded.

"Had the winds turned onshore, places like Sidon Street and the N2 would have been flooded, as was the case on 1 September 2008."


The full explanation from forecast desk

Sampson said that the passage of the cold front on Monday, in combination with a steeply ridging high pressure system, behind it resulted in gale force winds, which in turn caused high sea conditions of between 6 and 9 meters out to sea.

"Simultaneously there was a spring high tide which further enhanced the wave heights and resulted in a storm surge along the coast between Plettenberg Bay and East London," he said. 

"The passage of a cold front on Monday, with a high pressure steeply ridging behind it resulted in gale force winds, thus high sea conditions (6-9m).

"Simultaneously, a new moon was expected and thus enhancing the wave heights and resulting in a storm surge in places along the coast between Plettenberg Bay and East London.

"The forecasters on duty managed to issue out a threshold warning for both the gale force winds and high seas warning for the public on Sunday, while a wind and wave impact based warning was sent out to the relevant municipal officials on the same day."

Sampson further said that these conditions are expected to start subsiding from Tuesday night, with the wave heights still expected to be between 4.5 to 5.5m on Wednesday.

"Moreover, abnormal waves are possible in the Agulhas Current between Port Alfred and East London from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning, possibly causing coastal inundation, damage to vessels and affecting coastal recreational activities."

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