/ 3 July 2003

Which is SA’s windiest city?

East London might be small, but has a lot of bluster. The city was officially named South Africa’s least calm city on Wednesday, as it always has wind blowing even if its residents cannot feel it.

In a Weather Services study of 128 recording stations over 30 years, East London’s percentage of wind-free days was so low that it was rounded off to zero percent.

However, when it comes to wind speed and frequency of strong winds, the city loses its breezier-than-thou status.

”East London has the least calm but if you take all three into consideration and add it all together you’ll find Cape Point is the windiest station and PE is the windiest city,” said Hugh van Niekerk, station manager of the South African Weather Service in Port Elizabeth.

East London did not even make the top five windiest places in South Africa. The average wind speed in East London was 4,1 metres per second, and nine percent of the city’s wind blew at eight metres per second.

In comparison, the average speed at Cape Point was 6,9 metres per second and 42%of its wind blew at eight or more metres per second.

Port Elizabeth notched an average speed of 4,3 metres per second and had the country’s second most frequent strong winds. The study was done after airline kulula.com claimed Port Elizabeth was South Africa’s windiest city.

Calm was measured at absolute zero wind movement. Winds that were not noticeable to people are regarded as ”uncalm”.

Malcolm Bennetts of Extreme Sports said East London’ wind was great for kites, watersports and paragliding — especially in summer.

”It is always windy here — if it’s not east or west, it’s coming off the land,” commented local yacht skipper John Barry.

East London’s wind was unpredictable both in direction and intensity, he said.

Van Niekerk said a constant breeze was not a negative thing and that very strong winds were more of a discomfort.

”If there wasn’t a bit of a breeze it would be stinking hot and most unpleasant.” – Sapa