Suddenly: August

It’s nearly the end of July, and that means that it’ll soon be August. After that… [double checks] yes, September.

So what? This happens every year, right?

Well, yes it does, but September 1st is unofficially known as Spring Day in South Africa, bringing with it… well… Spring. Not really Spring, but unofficially Spring. Springy enough not to be Winter anymore. Unofficially, at least.

That also happens every year, but given that we’re basically 5 weeks away from it (and therefore 5 weeks away from what is unofficially the end of the rainy season), and our dams are still looking emptier than an ANC promise, we really should be well into full panic mode by now. Especially given that the medium term forecast for the next fortnight (making up, as it does, 40% of that 5 week period) shows no sign of significant rainfall for the Western Cape.

Look, tomorrow is not going to be dry, but with a forecast of just 5.2mm of precipitation over 24 hours, it’s not going to be particularly wet either.

With the Cape Town dams sitting at 27.4% of capacity (as per this morning’s city figures) – and with the last 10% of that infamously “unusable” – things are looking every bit as precarious as ever. Add to that the fact that Cape Town’s residents are using 643,000,000 litres a day (that’s 143,000,000 litres or almost 30% more than we should be) and you (actually “we”) have a recipe for disaster.

There’s enough publicity about this situation on the TV, the internet (not least this damned blog), the radio and everywhere else for everyone in Cape Town to understand the gravity of the situation. But given that we’re apparently still paying no attention and not saving nearly enough of the wet stuff, I’ve now come to the conclusion that a lot of the locals simply don’t care.

I wonder how they’ll feel in 6 months time?

Still not raining

Look, we’ve covered this before.

We noted the city’s request for prayers here:

Why haven’t our religious leaders been praying for rain already? And if they have, where’s the evidence? Who’s withholding the damn rain anyway, and why?

And we added a touch of sarcasm here:

Tamboerskloof vicar Rev. Denise Woodhouse stated that she had been instructed by her senior clergy to hold off any specific reference to rain in her Sunday prayers “until April or May”.
When it was pointed out to her that this was rather convenient timing, given that that’s when the seasonal rains usually begin anyway, she replied, “Yes, isn’t God amazing?” and hurried off to help with pouring the tea at the Women’s Auxiliary meeting.

But the weird thing is that with just n days of water left, people are still genuinely suggesting that prayer is the answer to the current water crisis:

Exactly what do these people think is responsible for this crisis? The underlying cause of the lack of water is simply a lack of rain.

Given that we are advised to “put our faith in God as He is the only one who can save us from the catastrophe” (as He did just after that day of prayer about 30 years ago), I’m left wondering why He hasn’t done something about this already.

Is He really sitting up there in heaven, omnipotent, but waiting for us all to worship a bit harder before He sends any precipitation to Cape Town? Are the recent floods in Gauteng a sign that they prayed harder or better than we did, or is He just trolling?

Behold what I am capable of, just up the N1! Enough rain to fill their dams (and sweep innocent schoolchildren to their deaths), but no: you’re not having any until you get yourselves to church and beg for it. And, if you’ve already been to church and begged for it, then go again and beg a bit harder.

And then, when it does eventually rain, you will praise me for granting you watery salvation, conveniently overlooking all the times I ignored your repeated and increasingly desperate prayers over the past few months.

But that’s exactly what Ilze Müller and her kind will do: drowning (pun intended) in religious confirmation bias, defending the indefensible, brainwashed and blinkered.

Still, if I can get an afternoon off work on the strength of pretending to participate in their ludicrous charade, I’m obviously all for it.

Rain Prayers planned “soon”

Religious leaders in Cape Town have said that they will get round to praying for rain soon.
The city is currently in the throes of its worst drought for decades, and Mayor Patricia de Lille had appealed to senior figures from across the religious spectrum to pray for precipitation as dam levels continued to fall. However, with no significant rainfall in several weeks, there are some individuals who are beginning to doubt that the praying was having any effect.

But now there has been widespread shock as a Cape Town newspaper investigation has revealed that most local religious leaders haven’t actually been praying for rain at all.

Tamboerskloof vicar Rev. Denise Woodhouse stated that she had been instructed by her senior clergy to hold off any specific reference to rain in her Sunday prayers “until April or May”.
When it was pointed out to her that this was rather convenient timing, given that that’s when the seasonal rains usually begin anyway, she replied, “Yes, isn’t God amazing?” and hurried off to help with pouring the tea at the Women’s Auxiliary meeting.

In Rondebosch, Minister Peter Mulhearn echoed Rev Woodhouse’s words: “Apparently, God’s got a lot of stuff on His plate right now,” he said. “There are wars all over the place, there’s the ongoing plight of the rhino, and this whole Donald Trump thing is probably taking up an awful lot of His time. I think we need to give Him a break on these very local matters until at least mid-Autumn time. Then we’ll put forward Cape Town’s case for rain. And you just watch – He will surely deliver.”

And it was much the same story from Wynberg Imam Iqbal Sadiq, who told us: “Now is not the time for panic. We are aware of the Mayor’s request, and have scheduled a Salat Al-Istisqa’ (prayer for rain) for early winter. We are sure that Allah will provide.”

When questioned about the apparent delay in prayers for rainfall, a city spokesperson stated: “Obviously, we can only ask. It’s in the hands of religious leaders as to if and when they choose to pray for rain. And it’s only one of the many sensible strategies that the city has put in place to deal with the water crisis. We’re hopeful that the our unicorn-powered pumping station in Kraaifontein will pick up the shortfall in the meantime.”

Rain approaching

Cape Town City Council has forewarned of some nasty weather approaching this evening and through tomorrow, including heavy rain and gale force winds.

Lovely.

Of course, winter is on its way and we need to accept that winter in the Cape of Storms brings… well… storms. This incoming cold front will be the first of many in the coming months, but because it’s the first, the City has reminded residents of a few safety tips for dealing with the inclement weather:

Residents can help mitigate the potential impact by:

  • staying away from beachfront areas
  • maintaining a safe following distances on the roads
  • ensuring that the drainage systems on their properties are working properly
  • raising the floor level of their homes to minimise the risk of flooding

Yes, some are easier to do than others. For example, if you live on the beachfront, you’re going to struggle with that first one. However, if you live on the beachfront in a beachfront apartment, you’re already sorted for the fourth one, so it’s all swings and roundabouts really, isn’t it?

Windguru is predicting about 40mm of rain for the next 24 hours (which our meteorological expert describes as “quite a bit”), and winds of about 60kph (“properly breezy”), so I think we’re all a little better informed now.
And, after the near 30ºC highs of yesterday, we’re looking at 15ºC for tomorrow.

Saturday looks grey and damp, before a return to more pleasant weather on Sunday, meaning that you can head back to the beachfront and lower your floors again.

Happy days.

Note: The City’s 107 Public Emergency Call centre can be accessed by dialing 107 from a Telkom line or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone.

I can’t feel my fingers

The weekend in Cape Town kicked off with heavy rain from about 3am this morning (rather than 3am this afternoon, which makes no sense at all, obviously. My point is that it was 3am this morning, rather than any other morning).

It’s not like this wasn’t expected. One of the (many) good things about living here is that the weather is quite predictable. Stuck on the corner of Africa with literally thousands of miles of ocean almost surrounding us, it’s fairly easy to see what’s coming and warn us about it. And warned we were:

image

Wind, rain, swell – lots of each of them, which surely means a trip out with the camera tomorrow.

Currently, it’s 10.2C and the pressure is 997mb. The pool is overflowing and there are puddles all over my lawn. And with the wind increasing and the pressure still dropping, it seems like the worst is yet to come.

In the midst of all this, I have prepped with homemade soup, cottage pie, pasta “thing” and home-baked fresh bread. Looking good, then.
And then we’re off to Newlands to watch the rugby. Memories of the sleet at Italy v Paraguay in 2010 spring to mind.
I’d rather be in the stands than on the field, but right now, I’d rather just watch it on TV and enjoy my soup.