Your Wednesday Thursday storm briefing

(Following on from your Monday Thursday storm warning and your Tuesday Thursday storm update.)

Hello, Thursday Storm fans (I’m looking at you, UtianG).
Another day, another lot of isobars.

It’s still coming; it’s still fairly large: there’s been no further relief on the pressure side of things since yesterday’s post. It has been slightly delayed by the traffic from the stop/go system for the roadworks near Tristan da Cunha, and thus we should only expect the worst of the rain late morning tomorrow.

Looking out of my lab window at the cloudless , windless Cape skies this morning, it’s hard to believe that we’re all going to die horribly there’s a cold front just 24 hours away. It’s all so calm and peaceful. And dry.

Here’s the latest synoptic chart, and while we’re all looking at what’s approaching the Western Cape tomorrow, it would be foolish to ignore that second low pressure area behind it which is making its way eastwards across the South Atlantic. At the moment, it looks like that’s going to hit the Cape overnight on Sunday and into Monday, ruining what was already going to be a pretty crappy morning for us all anyway. It’s not going to be as big as tomorrow’s excitement, but it’s a long way off and it does have the potential to change track and give us a proper battering.

But let’s get through tomorrow first, with Windguru predicting almost 40mm of rain over 24 hours for the Mother City, followed by an entirely dark, damp and dreary Friday.

Stay safe, drink red wine, toast a beagle on your log fire and do a crossword. Look after those who don’t have your luxuries: you can donate a bed for 5 nights at The Haven Night Shelter for just R60 without even leaving your chair. Click here and do your bit. I have. Or use Snapscan:

And please share this post (use the buttons below) and get others to do their bit as well.

And then come back for tomorrow’s post entitled:

Damp Squib: What Was All The Fuss About?

or:

Sweet Baby Jesus. We Are Actually All Going To Die!

depending on the prevailing meteorological conditions.

Thursday storm update

Windguru is still shouting about TONNES of rain and 80kph gusts of northwesterly air in Cape Town on Thursday morning, but a quick look at the synoptic charts for the South Atlantic actually indicate that things have calmed down just a little out there [points westsouthwest].

Now, I’m not doubting Windguru. It is, after all, the self-proclaimed guru on these sort of things. But there’s no doubt that the centre of that low pressure area is more diffuse and not as deep as it was yesterday.

If I was a betting man (I’m not), I’d be wondering about whether (no pun intended) this one is not going to pass a little further south than the original forecasts originally forecasted. That would mean that we’d just catch the tail end of the cold front, and that it might not be quite as bad as we were expecting.

I am going to add a couple of provisos here though: firstly, I’m not a professional weather forecaster. Some would say I’m not professional at all, and there are times when I’d find it difficult to argue with them. Secondly, “not quite as bad as we were expecting” is relative, as we were actually expecting it to be really, really bad. So even if I’m right, it might still be really bad.

Of course, the closer the actual event, the more accurate the forecast can be. And that’s why we’ll be having another look at this tomorrow. Follow on Facebook here and don’t miss this (possibly) incisive commentary on the approach of (possibly) the biggest storm of the year.

Got wood?

(Firewood, that is…)

We’ve covered this before, but after this weekend, I feel that it needs covering again.

And before we go ANY further, this ISN’T a paid-for post.
Not in cash, not in kind, not in… well… wood. Otherwise it would be utterly pointless in you reading it, because of course I’m going to say that [Company] is amazing, when [Company] has paid me to tell you that they’re amazing.

This isn’t like that. Although this company is amazing.

Given the cold snap, we’ve been burning a lot of wood and we needed a new supply. And given the fact that Cape Town can also be ridiculously warm on some days, I needed some braai wood too.

Step forward, metaphorically at least, The Fireman.

I ordered 16 bags of Bluegum and 10 bags of Rooikrans (other woods are available) on Friday evening, and was offered delivery on Saturday lunchtime, but we had plans.
No problem: how about a delivery slot at 4:30pm on Monday?

Perfect.

They arrived at 4:27pm. You can’t fault that. Much, anyway.
And I will judge you if you do.

When I came home last night from a busy day in the lab killing TB, my wood was stacked neatly in bags, exactly as I asked, exactly where I asked. It’s good wood, too. (Not Goodwood, I don’t live there – I mean that it’s well-seasoned, dry wood, ready to serve purpose.)

Good service is getting harder and harder to find in Cape Town. Rather than just constantly whining about the bad stuff (although that is a completely legitimate approach), we should celebrate and support those companies which are doing things right, doing things well.

So, if you need braai wood or firewood (or both) delivered free of charge to your home address and stacked to your liking (T&Cs apply), then please support The Fireman. And please share this post.

 

M: 021 712 2251 | E: firemanjack1@gmail.com

 

And please just remember that this isn’t a paid for post. If anyone pays me to blog about their product, I’ll tell you very clearly that they have done. And then I’ll spend that money on beer.

Monday mornings

It’s Monday. Your alarm sounds at 5:30am. Ugh.

The last seven days have been the coldest and wettest (yay!) of the year so far. It’s been one of those weeks that Cape Town housing really isn’t set up for. The ambient temperature of the water in the shower is noticeably lower than usual. It’s going to be a battle to emerge from beneath the heavy winter duvet. The beagle has written a surprisingly good motivation for the immediate construction of an indoor dog loo. We’re all in this together.

The sun rose this morning at a lazy 7:45, by which time the kids were at school and I was negotiating the tricky Claremont rush hour. We’re fewer than three weeks away from June 21st – Cape Town’s shortest day of the year:

Sunrise: 07:51 Sunset: 17:44
Day length:9:53:32

…but because of the tilt of the earth’s axis and the unchanging nature of the solar day, sunrise will continue to be later and later until July 1st, at which point we will only begin daylight at a seemingly ridiculous 7:52am.

What’s more, the boy is in the middle of his first real set of exams (first set of real exams?), and we’re knee deep in revision timetables and the associated stress. No-one wants to even be awake, let alone going to school. I had to employ some pretty radical parenting skills to get the family moving this morning.

I’ve still got nothing on this guy though:

The sun is out today, slowly wandering across the pale blue, cloudless sky. But all I can think about is an early return to the warmth of my bed.

Ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Declaring personal goods before leaving SA

South African resident?
Going abroad soon?

Lucky you.

You’ll be wondering if you need to declare your valuable personal effects to SARS before leaving South Africa, in order that you are not charged duty upon your return to the country, right?

After this alleged incident, there’s been some confusion over this, so here’s the definitive answer.

No.

But also, Yes.

But No.

However: Yes, you do.

Unhelpful. So I looked for advice from some experts.

Flight Centre said: mmm, maybe.
traveller24dotcom said: there’s a statement from SARS.

But before we go there, here’s an interview with SARS executive Beyers Theron in which he says:

If you have your laptop or cellphones with you, you’re not required to declare that when you leave the country.

So that’s clearly a no.
And here’s that statement from SARS, in which they say:

A more user-friendly and secure process has been created where the traveller completes a TC-01 (Traveller Card) notifying his or her intent to register goods for re-importation. This is presented to the Customs Officer who will then capture this online on a Traveller declaration system (TRD1). The traveller authenticates the declaration by signing on a digital signature pad. A copy is printed for the traveller to retain as proof of registration.

Which does appear to be a yes.

And that’s straight from the horse’s mouth website. So it looks like it’s a yes.

I’m flying out of the country soon, so I had a quick look at how many flights leave SA for other countries. Then I decided that that was a bit stupid because the numbers were just too beeg for my puny microbiologist brain to handle.
So I concentrated on Cape Town.

International flights from Cape Town today:

Amsterdam, Windhoek (x3), Victoria Falls (x2), Oranjemund, Maun, Walvis Bay (x2),  Addis Ababa, Paris, London (x2), Dubai (x3), Doha, Harare and Luanda.

20 flights, including at least 2 on 747, 5 on 777s and 2 on 787s.
In off-season.

That’s a lot of flights. All of which got me wondering about just how many people were likely to be on those flights. So I looked up the most recent available statistics and found that on average, each day 2,760 people depart CPT on international flights.

Bye!

Of those, how many travellers are local residents? There aren’t any recent figures, but a third seems like a reasonable assumption, based on what information is available. (Note that the figures are much, MUCH higher for JNB: ±80%.)
But back to Cape Town, because that’s where we can like to be looking at.

Approximate international travellers per day = 2,760.
So approximate locals travelling abroad = 920.

Now we have some numbers, I’can, and have been doing, some rudimentary calculations.

According to the missive above, each of those 920 people will have to go to SARS in town simply to register their personal goods (with proof of ownership for each) in order that they might not face having to pay duty on them upon their return.
Their cellphones, their watches, their laptops, their cameras.

920 locals per day = 6,440 locals each week, but since SARS is only open five days a week, that equates to 1,290 local people at that TC-01 counter each day. SARS is open 8am-4pm, so they’ll have to process 162 people per hour, or 2.7 people per minute every minute.
That’s 1 person every 22.2 seconds to ensure that everyone is accommodated and can:

avoid the inconvenience of having to explain ownership upon returning from travel abroad.

which clearly seems to be a perfectly reasonable and manageable target.

And that’s just Cape Town. And that’s just air travel.

Of course, this legislation has been in place for years and years and years, and no-one has ever fallen foul of it until some petty jobsworth SARS official at OR Tambo decided to have a pop at the ridiculously named Mr Toler Wolfe-Coote as documented above.

The can of worms has been opened. But I’m sure the our erstwhile tax agency is completely and adequately prepared to deal with the situation.