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Rain - and plenty of it for Cape Town!

It is a treat to deftly cross over streams around Table Mountain which are typically at a trickle but are now cascading. There has been plenty of rain in the last couple of weeks, but just how much exactly?

Hiking Table Mountain after the rains means there are plenty of opportunities to re-fill water bottles.

Capetonians must be wondering when summer will make an appearance. In 2018, the last weekend of October yielded temperatures into the upper thirties and into the forties in the surrounding areas such as Wellington and Worcester. 2019, however, has been almost the polar (pun intended) opposite. Scarcely have temperatures reached the mid-twenties despite the rest of the country experiencing dry and record temperatures for October (the October maximum temperature records for places like Phalaborwa and Skukuza have been reached this past week).


But, while we wait for beach-friendly days we may as well enjoy the rain that has accompanied the ensuing cold, particularly in the aftermath of the drought of the last few years that led to Day Zero fears. Despite the good rains this past winter, dam levels last week were still in the lower half of values for the last 10 years, although higher than last year and inconceivably better than 2017.


Gushing waterfall near the Skeleton Gorge/Contour Path intersection above Kirstenbosch.

Last week's rain burst may have given some further impetus to get Cape Town through summer. The heavens opened last Thursday unleashing rain in Highveldesque fashion to produce a spectacular downpour in parts of the metro leaving roads looking more like the Liesbeek. South African Weather Service and Cape Town Metro figures show that 160 mm of rain fell on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 October combined, with the majority falling between 03:00 and 12:00 on Friday. Woodhead Dam on Table Mountain received 119 mm on Thursday (Weather records updated daily can be found here http://www.weathersa.co.za/home/recentclimate). While these are probably the highest rainfall areas in the city, they are nevertheless important catchment areas. 


Mean annual rainfall figures for Cape Town range from 580 mm to 790 mm depending on the source of information. Using the highest figure, that would still mean that last week's rainfall accounted for just over 20% of the city's annual precipitation - an entire fifth of the year's rain in about 12 hours.


Using the highest figure, that would still mean that last week's rainfall accounted for just over 20% of the city's annual precipitation - an entire fifth of the year's rain in about 12 hours.

Woodhead Dam received 119 mm of rain this past week and is considerably fuller than this image taken in May 2018.

The showers ensure that the waterfalls and streams that crisscross the Peninsula will flow a bit longer into summer and there should be some gushing torrents for at least the next couple of weeks. There are plenty of trails (there are numerous that skirt around streams in Newlands Forest) on the Forge app where you can get your feet wet or ogle at some water wonders (always be careful when crossing streams!).

Be sure to get the free Forge App on your mobile and download our offline Explore More maps to take with you onto the mountain, then share the stoke using #IAMFORGE.


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