All Hail Breaks Loose ~ A Cape Storm

Two weekends ago I was still walking around in shorts and a t-shirt by day, but this past weekend all of that changed and suddenly Cape Town was in the grips of winter!

We were due to hike this weekend, but due to the severe weather warnings and with just two of us left standing the hike was called off, much to my disappointment.  It was cold and wet, with brief patches of blue sky and even sunshine in between. Although this Cape Storm, that was bashing out across the Western Cape, was mild in comparison to past Cape Storms I have seen, it was exquisitely beautiful in its own right, with a twist of the unexpected!

After spending most the weekend not venturing out far and missing out on getting up the mountain, I was desperately craving the fresh wintry air and the outdoors so I decided I would venture out to Sea Point, my old home ground, to capture what I hoped would be some beautiful Cape winter storm pictures. When I lived in Sea Point I used to be one of the lone people walking along the promenade on those cold wintry weekend days. I used to love it, just been outdoors and watching mother nature at her best. This weekend was no different. I decided to message a friend to say that I would be heading out that way later and asked if she wanted to come along for the ride. Her reply was undecided as she was still in her pj’s, as I am sure was most of Cape Town, but as I was only going in the afternoon she still had time to decide.

Just before I was due to leave my phone beeped to life, she was coming but could I give her a little bit of extra time to get ready. It was that message that would save me from driving in probably the craziest hail storm Cape Town has ever seen! Leaving a short while later than originally planned, I headed out to fetch Shanti, who lives in Woodstock. As I drove up to the N1 highway I began to notice a strange substance on the side of the road. Driving past it looked like a white foam of sorts but as I went on it, the road began to be covered more and more in it. As I headed over the looped road to get onto the highway, I slowed down drastically as I realised it was hail covering the road. As I turned onto the N1 it was covered in white with blue patches of tar where the cars had already ridden.

I wish I could have stopped along the way to take some photos but as my car is a no-phone zone by choice I wasn’t prepared to drive and take photos (which some crazy people were doing) and I wasn’t prepared to pull over and temp fate of a car sliding out of control and hitting me. Cape Town is far from equipped to drive in conditions like this and for me, a born and bred Capetonian, seeing this in my home town was a first!

Below are a few pics that have flooded social networks sites showing pics in and around Cape Town city centre and Sea Point, where Shanti and I were headed.  Unfortunately as so many people have been sharing these pics and uploading them, I do not know who or where the photograph originally come from.

The City Centre covered in white! So this is what Cape Town would look like if it snowed!

The City Centre covered in white! So this is what Cape Town would look like if it snowed! Pic by Unknown.

A view from above, the City Centre blanketed in white. Although it looks like snow it was actually little hail balls, thousands upon thousands of them!

A view from above, the City Centre blanketed in white. Although it looks like snow it was actually little hail balls, thousands upon thousands of them! Pic via Bianca Haarhoff.

The N1 highway that I was travelling on when the hail storm hit. I was coming from the opposite side on the lower freeway but encounted what you see here.

The N1 highway that I was traveling on just after the hail storm hit. I was coming from the opposite side on the lower freeway into town but encountered what you see here. Pic by Unknown.

The beautiful and colourful Bo-Kaap dusted in white!

The beautiful and colourful Bo-Kaap dusted in white! Pic by Unknown.

The roads around Woodstock right after the hail storm hit.

The roads around Woodstock right after the hail storm hit. Photo by Unknown.

Driving on the roads right after the never before seen hail storm in Cape Town city centre. Photo by unknown person.

Driving on the roads right after the never before seen hail storm in Cape Town city centre. Photo by Unknown.

After collecting Shanti, we drove into town and on to Sea Point. As we sat at a red traffic light I asked Shanti to take a pic for me of the road that was still covered in hail, but as she aimed the camera two cars pulled up alongside us and completely blocked our view. We drove on slowly and carefully so as not to slide towards Sea Point in hope of capturing some beautiful stormy pictures. Although the sea was nowhere near as ferocious as it was in the storm of August 2008, the ocean was moody and the sky was dark.

A brief respite in the rain but the next lot wasn't far behind.

A brief respite in the rain but the next lot wasn’t far behind.

As the rain began to fall again we retreated to the car to shelter from the rain.

As the rain began to fall again we retreated to the car to shelter from the rain.

A deserted Sea Point Swimming Pool.

A deserted Sea Point Swimming Pool.

Love these crazy trees along the Promenade.

Love these crazy trees along the Promenade.

Sea Point Promenade, a winter wonderful! Never thought I would see the day!

Sea Point Promenade, a winter wonderful! Never thought I would see the day!

Sea Point Promenade after the crazy hail storm.

Sea Point Promenade after the crazy hail storm. Photo by Unknown.

After getting some pics by the sea, we drove back through Sea Point and stopped where large amounts of hail still lined the streets and sidewalks and Shanti and I proceeded to play like kids with not a care in the world. We rolled up hail (snow) balls and threw them at each other, we laughed, we ran, we got wet and for a little while forgot all about the cold.

Although the hail on the grass had mostly melted the roads were still lined with hail, and even though it wasn't snow we had to throw some hail balls!

Although the hail on the grass had mostly melted the roads were still lined with hail, and even though it wasn’t snow we had to throw some hail balls!

My friend, who was crazy enough to say yes to going out in this stormy weather, throws a hail ball at me.

My friend, Shanti, who was crazy enough to say yes to going out in this stormy weather, throws a hail ball at me.

Outside the Winchester Mansions in Sea Point, the sidewalk and sides of the streets were still covered in little hail balls even 2 hours after the hail storm.

Outside the Winchester Mansions in Sea Point, the sidewalk and sides of the streets were still covered in little hail balls even 2 hours after the hail storm.

After some fun in the hail that looked like snow but really was little balls of solid ice, we got back in the car and headed to the other side of Sea Point just as the storm clouds rolled over again and the heavens opened with yet another downpour.

The parking lot was full and we were lucky enough to get one of the last open parking spaces facing right onto the ocean. As we parked and just watched what was unfolding before us, suddenly out of nowhere this sheet of driving rain was heading straight for the windscreen. Shouts of “Whoooaaaa” erupted from both Shanti and myself as the car rocked violently and I think everyone sitting in that front row of cars watching ducked as this sheet of rain brought in by the strongest guest of wind hit us.

Sitting in my car sheltering from the blasting wind and downpour of rain.

Sitting in the car sheltering from the blasting wind and the next downpour of rain.

A brief break in the rain, it was safe to exit the car again and venture out.

A brief break in the rain, it was safe to exit the car again and venture out.

Although the tide was going out, the sea was choppy and angry as it crashed to the shore.

Although the tide was going out, the sea was choppy and angry as it crashed to the shore.

Venturing as close to the edge as possible to get a photo and hoping like hell a wave didn't crash over and drench me!

Venturing as close to the edge as possible to get a photo and hoping like hell a wave didn’t crash over and drench me!

Spray from the ocean crashing over the sides and traveling far with the wind, hitting us every time!

Spray from the ocean crashing over the sides and traveling far with the wind, hitting us every time!

A lone bench overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. No one brave enough to sit for a while and watch.

A lone bench overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. No one brave enough to sit for a while and watch.

After  yet another downpour the blue skies in the background were deceiving and didn't get to hang around for long.

After yet another downpour the blue skies in the background were deceiving and didn’t get to hang around for long.

With the brief break in the rain and with the sun sinking lower in the sky, it was time to head home again before the next lot rolled in. We drove home via Mouille Point and stopped along the way to take some more pics of this breathtakingly beautiful city I live in.

The lighthouse at Mouille Point.

The lighthouse at Mouille Point.

A brief respite in the rain, it was time to make our way home via Mouille Point before the next lot of lashing rain hit and the night fell.

A brief respite in the rain, it was time to make our way home via Mouille Point before the next lot of lashing rain hit and the night fell.

A little wet and cold we had a quick stop in Mouille Point on the way home.

A little wet and cold, we had a quick stop in Mouille Point on the way home.

Back in Woodstock, a picturesque street still lined with hail.

Back in Woodstock, a picturesque street still lined with hail.

Arriving back home just before the sun was due to set, I quickly stopped off at the beach to take these pics. I didn't stay for the actual sun set as the dark clouds were rolling in fast.

Arriving back home just before the sun was due to set, I quickly stopped off at the beach to take these pics. I didn’t stay for the actual sunset as the dark clouds were rolling in fast and with the dying light the wind was now bitterly cold.

The waves crashing over the remains of the Seli 1 wreckage.

The waves crashing over the remains of the Seli 1 wreckage.

Table Mountain blanketed with the next lot of clouds rolling in over the Mother City.

Table Mountain blanketed with the next lot of clouds rolling in over the Mother City.

A beautiful double rainbow as seen from my back yard that reached all the way across the sky.

A beautiful double rainbow as seen from my back yard that reached all the way across the sky ~ There is beauty in every storm.

I love living in this city!

And it’s true what they say, you can have four seasons in one day.

Cape Town lived up to her name yesterday.

She is the Mother of all cities!

Rain, wind, hail, sunshine, thunder and lightning ~ today we got to see it all.

As the biting cold continues to sweep across the Western Cape, I find myself grateful for friends who say yes, for crazy adventures when others decide to stay in, for my beautiful home that keeps me warm and dry and for the clothes that keep the cold at bay.

I am blessed.

It is true what Dan Stevens once said, “It’s not a bad lesson to learn in the bleaker months: how you view a storm is a question of perspective; provided you find the right rock to watch it from, it could be the most incredible thing you’ll ever witness.”

To all those living in Cape Town, stay warm and stay safe!

~ Most photo’s by me, except for the few Winter Wonderland White Photos shared so many times on social networks that it is impossible to find where they originated from ~

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janice walker
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 20:39:37

    Thanks for the amazing photo’s Lara. Cape Town as I’ve never seen it before!!

    Reply

  2. Natalie
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 22:56:05

    Absolutely stunning! Glad you braved the storm and got to have such an amazing time out there… and hope Shanti got you good! hahahahahaaa

    Reply

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