A Monday catch-up

I haven’t found one specific thing worthy of a blog post of its own yet today, so I thought I’d share several of the thing which were almost worthy of a blog post of their own. Collectively, these things are worth far more than a single blog post, so you’re certainly getting your money’s worth today.

First up: flooding in Paris:

Insane! Or rather not in Seine at all right now. This is of specific interest to me because we’ve just booked a trip to Europe in June/July and Paris and French waterways are included. I particularly enjoyed the line:

The national flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels hit a maximum height of 5.84 meters (19 feet, 2 inches) on the Austerlitz scale early Monday. That’s below initial fears last week, and well below record levels of 8.62 meters in 1910.

Yeah. But that’s only really a bonus if your property lies between 5.85 and 8.62m on the Austerlitz scale though, isn’t it?

Then: Superpods of dolphins are gathering off the coast of South Africa

Am I the only one who finds this headline vaguely threatening?
The “are gathering” bit does sound as if there is some common porpoise (stop it!) to their behaviour, and I think we’re all aware that what I mean by that is dolphin invasion, something we’ve covered here before.
Researchers suggest that it may rather be something to do with defending themselves against sharks, but then researchers would suggest that, wouldn’t they? They’re in on the act.
It’s telling that the majority of the pods have been sighted off the sleepy seaside village of Port Elizabeth. PE is the ideal place to begin an takeover: by the time the locals have worked out what is going on and release the emergency carrier pigeons from the Campanile, the tanks (either kind, you do the maths) of invading dolphins will be on the Free State border.

Playing with photos

Practice, they say, makes perfect. And one day, I’d like my photo editing to be perfect. So, whenever I can, I’m finding photos to practice on. Since I didn’t take any this weekend (again, despite this), I’ve borrowed one from Brian Micklethwait over at BrianMicklethwait.com. I loved his photo of Victoria Station (link), and so I shamelessly stole borrowed it and put a bit of a spin on it with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

Just for absolute clarity, I’m not suggesting that my version is in any way better. I’m just suggesting that it’s different. I was inspired by two things: firstly, the “vintage” look of the station roof, and secondly, Brian’s own thoughts on his image:

I like how this kind of scene permits bright colours, like those little union jacks, but turns fainter colours monochrome, like when that little girl in a red coat appears in Schindler’s List.

The more washed out feel that I’ve tried to give it still allows for those flags to stand out. Maybe they should stand out more. Maybe I should practice more.

And, just because I liked the headlines, these:

Because the data from their fitness apps are now publicly available.

and:

Only, of course, if you’re singing and dancing pornographically in Cambodia.

Half a World Away

Not the REM song, but an interesting thought as the UK and the Isle of Man face flooding, while my biggest problem is burning my feet on the way to the fridge to get another beer:
image

As you can see, it’s another gorgeous day down in Agulhas, and its sad to think that we’re heading home tomorrow – just in time for Sunday’s welcome(?) rain in Cape Town.

Incoming: Black South Easter

Much talk around about the ‘Black South Easter’ that is expected to hit Cape Town over the next 36 hours or so, bringing with it high winds, dark clouds and much rain. And right from the outset, it should be pointed out that this nomenclature isn’t a racist thing. We don’t have an alternative ‘White South Easter’ which lives very comfortably in Constantia, happily subsisting off its ill-gotten, pre-94 gains and complaining about the ANC. No, this is so named because of the threatening colour of the clouds – a kind of meteorological Swart Gevaar, if you wish to continue the rather tenuous analogy.

The braai-ruining South Easter or ‘Cape Doctor’ which is usually prevalent in Cape Town from October through to (at least) December is due to a pressure area called the South Atlantic High (SAH) which sits just off the Cape coast and fairly regularly joins up with its equally high friend in Durban. These guys hang around together, being high, giggling at nothing in particular, eating Pringles and forming a ridge of high pressure below South Africa, bringing with them the warm Cape Doctor, which, despite its reputation for blowing patio chairs over in Vredehoek, is actually a fair weather wind.

All good so far? Fantastic.
So what goes wrong in this Black South Easter scenario, which is responsible for such nastiness as the great Laingsburg Flood?

At first the rain was gentle as a result of a low pressure system.  But from Saturday afternoon to Sunday a high pressure system brought heavy thunder showers to the catchment area.  Up to 425 mm rainfall was recorded that week-end, whereas the normal rainfall per annum is only 175 mm.

Well, despite their insistence that a high pressure system was solely to blame, it was actually the interaction between that high pressure system and what’s called a Cut-Off Low pressure area. Please don’t think for a moment that we’re talking about the usual mild-mannered inland low pressure trough that sits over the Karoo in summer here. No, this puppy is a deep low pressure area and it would much rather be with its mates down towards Antarctica at this time of year. Sadly, our South Atlantic High is so out of it that he’s joined up with his Bru from Durbs and unwittingly separated the low from his friends. Awkward.

Let’s explain what’s going on by transposing this situation into a bar room scenario. It would be a bit touch and go.
Ideally, the low pressure area would note the obviously wasted state of the South Atlantic High, politely point out the awkward social situation that had occurred – “Sorry dude, I just need to slip past, please” – and things would be quickly resolved.
Sadly though, meteorological pressure areas are unable to communicate with one another – or anyone else for that matter – and the angry young low has been doing Jägerbombs since lunchtime. He lets fly with everything he’s got, dragging the warm air from our high friends, chucking in some filthy black clouds and several inches of precipitation in his annoyance at not being allowed to sit with his mates.

Fortunately, all this bluster doesn’t last for very long. Whereas a normal winter low pressure area would go on for a few days, the cut off low soon runs out of energy and falls down drunk at the bar. The ridge of high pressure looks on, “Dude, he totally fell over,” and gets on with clearing the dark clouds over the Mother City. That’s why Sunday actually looks quite nice and summer returns on Monday, when we’re all back at work.

If the forecast is to be believed, we’re in for a lot of rain from Friday evening through into Saturday. So do stay safe and remember these numbers in case of emergency.