Religion and the Knysna fires

Busy day for me today, so I’m going to direct you elsewhere (although obviously please come back once you’re done there).

Herewith then, an article by Ivo Vegter (you may remember him from such posts as The Lion, The Bitch and The Ecophobe and Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea) about the recent devastating fires on the Garden Route.

As ever, Ivo takes a different angle on the situation, lamenting the hypocrisy and dichotomy of some religious individuals and their reaction to the disaster.

At no time since the start of the tragedy did enough rain fall to make much difference to the fires, but when the occasional few drops did fall, Christians cluttered up the chat groups to thank their god. When the fires burnt out or were successfully fought, they praised the lord.

It’s clearly the writing of an very angry man, albeit that you get the impression that his professionalism is keeping his true feelings somewhat in check. Although (as he notes), his feelings will fall upon stony ground when it comes to the Christians:

We will be told it’s a matter of faith, not reason. That has the merit of being true, at least. There is nothing reasonable about any of this.

It’s an impassioned, yet controlled rant, clearly written in very difficult conditions – and it’s one of the best things he’s done in ages. I urge you to go and have a read.

Good news, bad news

GOOD NEWS!
As of 0600 this morning (it’s Friday today, for those wondering), the Theewaterskloof dam has 5,476,628,400,000 more litres of water in it than its low point on Tuesday at 1200.

BAD NEWS!
That only equates to its volume being 1.14% up on earlier in the week.
Current level = 14.05%*.

 

And therein lies the message that there’s a long, LONG way to go yet till we’re out of this mess, folks. Keep saving water!

* Obviously, there will still be inflows that haven’t reached the dam yet, so this figure will rise a bit.

Storm chasing and slapstick

I spent the afternoon on the Atlantic seaboard, chasing photos and enjoying the wind.

You can see what I saw by clicking here.

The evening was spent at Camps Bay’s Theatre On The Bay for the rather excellent and ever so amusing The Play That Goes Wrong.

Would highly advise that you go along and see it if you get the chance. Take nappies, because you will laugh that much.

Wednesday storm update

It’s still coming, although if you looked out of your Cape Town window this morning onto clear blue skies and sunshine, you might not believe it.

But a quick look at the beautiful graphics here shows a wonderful lilac arc of TPW – Total Precipitable Water – making its way steadily towards our little corner of the continent at about 75kph.

And while we’re desperate for the rain, we shouldn’t underestimate the effects of the incoming weather. Be prepared. Make sure your gutters and drains are clear of leaves and debris, stay inside tomorrow unless you really need to go out, make a plan to help your local homeless person/people.

UPDATE: The Haven Night Shelters have 15 shelters across Cape Town and the Western Cape. You can “buy a bed” at one of those shelters for a person who would otherwise be sleeping outside tonight by donating here.

And be aware of who to call if you need assistance.

Beagle owners have been warned to look out for conditions like Tail Drift and Ear Flap. Smaller dogs should be sufficiently weighted if you plan to take them out for walkies rather than flyies. Cats are on their own, and that’s just how they like it.

Rainfall estimates are still between 50-100mm, according to the SA Weather Service, which has most of the province on high alert (ironically also for fires in the high winds ahead of the rain):

And Windguru agrees, adding winds peaking around 100kph at lunchtime on Wednesday, with swells of 11.7m by early on Wednesday evening. A reminder to stay safe if you’re going anywhere down the Atlantic seaboard tomorrow, especially around high tide (1430). Getting that photo is pointless if you are then washed away before you can upload it.

Batten down your respective hatches, Cape Town. Stay safe, stay warm.

Everybody’s talking about…

** Tuesday morning UPDATE: click here **

…the moerse storm which is due to make landfall in Cape Town late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Big storms are always big news, but because of our ongoing drought, this one is definitely more eagerly anticipated than most. It’s also arguably the biggest since this puppy hit us in August 2008.

Here’s the latest satellite image of our friend off the South West coast right now (0800 Monday): that dark area with a horn on it like some sort of malevolent unicorn.

So – some numbers:

Currently (Monday morning), Windguru is predicting 53.8 welcome millimetres of rain beginning at 11pm on Tuesday and continuing until Thursday evening.

Storm enthusiast Bryn de Kocks says:

The Boland area in particular seems likely to receive large amounts of rain, especially towards the mountain catchment regions where rainfall is likely to be heavier due to orographic effects. We should be able to expect rainfall measurements anywhere from 50mm to 100mm in the far SW Cape and Boland area.

And given the extreme nature of the deep low pressure area right now, this seems appropriate:

The rain is great, but I’m looking forward to the wind, which will be topping 100kph (Wednesday lunchtime) and which will be playing its part in generating swells of 11 metres (Wednesday afternoon/evening). Worryingly, this coincides with high tide on Wednesday (14:28), and with the moon almost full, there’s likely to be some flooding along the west coast.

Still, have camera, may well venture out.

Thursday looks to be the coldest day of the week with a chilly maximum of 12°C. So if you’re in Cape Town, wrap up warm and do your bit to try to help those less fortunate. And remember your emergency numbers:

  • Flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions – 0860 103 089 or SMS 31373
  • Electricity outages/disruptions – 0860 103 089 or SMS 31220.
  • Road Closures, delays on roadways and deviations – 0800 65 64 63
  • Weather Reports – Cape Town Weather Office (021 934 0749/0831), weatherline (083 123 0500), listen to alerts on the radio and television or visit www.weathersa.co.za
  • Emergencies – 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone

And look out for updates on Twitter and Facebook.