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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 08/12/2009

Cape Town's Table Cloth & Stunning Surroundings

By Jason Samenow

* Heat Wave Dissolves, Still Sticky: Full Forecast | Weather Checker *

A cloud deck, known as the "table cloth," forms over Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town in South Africa last month.

I was fortunate enough to recently visit Cape Town, South Africa, and its beautiful surroundings. Nestled between a range of mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate featuring very warm summers, and mild but damp winters. When I was there during the last two weeks of July, it was middle of winter there, as the city lies deep in the Southern Hemisphere, just a few thousand miles from Antarctica. But the weather was generally mild, with highs generally in the 60s to near 70, and overnight lows 45-50.

Many cities have defining weather features. In San Francisco, it's the low deck of stratus clouds. In Chicago, it's the wind off Lake Michigan. And in Los Angeles, many would say it's the smog. For Cape Town, the defining weather feature is the cloud deck that develops atop of Table Mountain, which overlooks the city. This cloud deck (pictured above) is known as the "table cloth" and forms whenever there is a moist wind from the south off the surrounding water. This wind, sometimes called the Cape Doctor because it sweeps away the city's smog, forces the air up the mountain where it cools, condenses and forms the table cloth cloud deck.

Keep reading for more images of the skies and landscapes in Cape Town and nearby areas...

The table cloth cloud deck presented just one of the many beautiful skies I was treated to during my 10 days on the western Cape of South Africa. See a small sampling below...

Crepuscular rays illuminate the waters facing Cape Town at sunset.

Crepuscular rays rays brighten a patch of the Atlantic Ocean at Camps Bay. Yes, that is a dog on the roof.

A rainbow fronts a section of the Twelve Apostle mountain range overlooking Camps Bay.

Sunlight mixes with stratocumulus clouds over Camps Bay.

A pair of African penguins stroll on the beach under blue skies at Boulders Beach National Park.

The sun sets illuminating a light house on the western Cape.

All photos by Jason Samenow

By Jason Samenow  | August 12, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Photography  
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Oh my. Those are simply breathtaking pictures. Thank you so much for this post!

Posted by: B2O2 | August 12, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Jason, these are amazing. Looks like you had great weather! I visited this area several years ago, and my jaw was dropped the entire time ... it's just so beautiful. And would you believe that I swam at Boulders Beach? It may have been the coldest water I've ever experienced, but it was refreshing on a hot day.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | August 12, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a pretty place, thanks for sharing Jason.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 12, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

looks amazing - thanks for sharing the pics :)

Posted by: madisondc | August 13, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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