Storm surge, flooding caused by freak weather conditions – HeraldLIVE

Mondays storm surge, which resulted in flooding in low-lying areas between Amsterdamhoek and Port Alfred, was caused by a rare convergence of weather conditions, according to the South African Weather Service.

The flooding, which caused some road closures and disruption to businesses in low-lying areas, but no major damage, resulted from a spring high tide, high seas and strong winds all occurring at the same time, the Weather Services Garth Sampson said.

The passage of the cold front yesterday, 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 6m and 9m out to sea, Sampson said on Tuesday.

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.

While there have been other floods and instances where two of the three phenomena occurred concurrently, the last time all three conditions occurred at the same time in Port Elizabeth was in 2008.

Its the first time, other than during floods, that I have seen the roads in Amsterdamhoek flooded like that, Sampson said.

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

He said the conditions were expected to subside from Tuesday night with wave heights still expected to be between 4.5m and 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, he said.

While no major damage was reported, Port Alfred residents described Mondays stormy conditions as scary.

Port Alfred businessman Diederick Stopsorth said at about 4.30pm on Tuesday it appeared that the storm surge, which had resulted in road closures in some parts of the town, seemed to be easing.

There have been some road closures due to yesterdays [Monday] storm and right now as Im looking I can tell its making its way back.

There is no rain at the moment; its windy but yesterdays rain left a lot of flooding, flooding on roads, Stopsorth said.

Another resident, Siphesihle Msimang, said she had managed to drive home at about 5.30pm on Monday, before the storm worsened.

At the time, the water went just above my ankle but we could still drive about but it worsened after that and resulted in more flooding.

Even today theres still a lot of water and although its not raining at the moment, you can tell that its coming back, she said.

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Storm surge, flooding caused by freak weather conditions - HeraldLIVE

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