Friday, 31 August 2012

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 31 August 2012 16h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas, gale force winds and very cold conditions.
  • Detail: Issued: 31-08-2012: 1. Very rough seas with wave height in excess of 4m is expected along the Eastern Cape coast on Friday night and on Saturday. 2. Gale force south-westerly winds are expected between Cape St Francis and Port Alfred Friday night spreading to Port Edward on Saturday. 3. Very cold conditions are expected over the high ground on Saturday. 
  • Kwazulu Natal Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating and very rough seas
  • Detail: Issued : 31-08-2012. 1. A high veld fire danger rating is expected in north-western KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday. 2 Very rough seas with wave height in excess of 4m expected south of Richards Bay tomorrow afternoon. 
  • Limpopo Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High Veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued : 31-08-2012. 1. A high veld fire danger rating is expected in the lowveld of Limpopo on Saturday. 
  • Mpumalanga Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 31-08-2012 1. A high veld fire danger rating is expected in the lowveld of Mpumalanaga on Saturday. 
  • Northern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very cold conditions
  • Detail: Issued: 31-08-2012 1. Very cold conditions can be expected over the southern high ground on Saturday. 
  • Western Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas and very cold conditions.
  • Detail: Issued: 31-08-2012 1. Very rough seas with wave height in excess of 4m is expected south of Cape Columbine on Saturday. 2. Very cold conditions can be expected over the high ground of the Western Cape on Saturday. 
  • All other Provinces - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts
- SAWS




SA Weather Satellite Image: 31 August 2012 16h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

Earthquake Magnitude 7.6 - PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION


Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude7.6
Date-Time
Location10.838°N, 126.704°E
Depth34.9 km (21.7 miles)
RegionPHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
Distances94 km (58 miles) E of Sulangan, Philippines
106 km (65 miles) ESE of Guiuan, Philippines
161 km (100 miles) ESE of Borongan, Philippines
174 km (108 miles) NE of Surigao, Philippines
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 13.3 km (8.3 miles); depth +/- 2.8 km (1.7 miles)
ParametersNST=688, Nph=688, Dmin=435.3 km, Rmss=0.98 sec, Gp= 11°,
M-type=(unknown type), Version=A
Source
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusc000cc5m

- USGS

52 people dead after torrential rains flood Niger

Emergency officials in Niger say that 52 people have died after heavy rains caused rivers to overflow and buildings to crumble.

Colonel Mahamane Laminou Moussa, the director general of the country's fire brigade service, said not a single neighborhood of the capital, Niamey, was spared. He said that on the night of 20 August, 4.7 inches of rain (119 millimeters) fell in the capital, pushing water under people's doors and causing rivers to rise to the highest levels since 1929.

In the capital, around 400,000 people are living in emergency shelters in schools and mosques.

In the northern province of Agadez, 81 villages have been flooded, leaving 44,600 people homeless. In Dosso district, 14,588 houses were destroyed. In Tillabery region, nearly 1,500 acres of rice fields were flooded.

- Times Live

A "TOUCH OF SPRING" in the streets of Durban



Images: Tabebuia in the streets of Durban - Obs. Dee de Souza

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 31 August 2012 04h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas, gale force winds and high veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Issued: 31-08-2012: Valid 31/08/2012 1. VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHT IN EXCESS ON 4M IS EXPECTED BETWEEN Pletternberg Bay AND PORT ALFRED ON FRIDAY, SPREADING TO PORT EDWARD ON SATURDAY. 2. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE INTERIOR. WATCHES: -------- 3. GALE FORCE SOUTH-WESTERLY WINDS ARE POSSIBLE BETWEEN PLETTENBERG BAY AND PORT ALFRED FRIDAY NIGHT, EXTENDING TO PORT EDWARD ON SATURDAY. 
  • Free State Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE FREE STATE ON FRIDAY. 
  • Gauteng Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN GAUTENG ON FRIDAY.
  • Kwazulu Natal Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN KAWZULU-NATAL ON FRIDAY. 
  • Limpopo Province - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts 
  • Mpumalanga Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHVELD. 
  • North West Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE NORTH_WEST PROVINCE ON FRIDAY. 
  • Northern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating   ?????
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE EASTERN PARTS. WATCHES: -------- 2. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE HIGH GROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON SATURDAY. 
  • Western Cape Province -  Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas, gale force winds and very cold.
  • Detail: Valid: 31-08-2012 1 VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHT IN EXCESS OF 4M IS EXPECTED BETWEEN TABLE BAY AND PLETTENBERG BAY ON FRIDAY AND BETWEEN LAMBERTS BAY AND PLETTENBERG BAY ON SATURDAY. 2. GALE FORCE NORTH-WESTERLY WINDS ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE COAST BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS. WATCHES: -------- 3. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE HIGH GROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON SATURDAY.

- SAWS

SAWDOS: Once again weather warnings are misleading and confusing.  See Northern Cape Province Warning. Readers, please note that the SAWDOS is not responsible for the contents or correctness of Severe Weather Warnings by the SA Weather Service. SAWDOS will not be held accountable for incorrect warnings nor for any grammar or spelling mistakes. The issue of severe weather warnings are the sole responsibility of the SA Weather Service.





SA Weather Satellite Image: 31 August 2012 02h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

GFS Medium Range Forecasts of Vertical Velocity and Precipitation: 30 August - 1 September 2012


- U.S. National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)Click on image for larger view.

Update: Cold-fronts and more snow SW&S-Cape 31August - 01September 2012


All of the recent model runs (GFS and NOGAPS up to 12Z on Thurs 30th) continue to show a compact and powerful storm making landfall on Cape Town during the daytime tomorrow (Fri 31st), with snow on the SW-Cape mountains overnight (into Sat 1st).

I don't have much to add to the comments posted earlier, but do suggest that you stay tuned!

The SAWS aviation takeoff data for Cape Town airport tomorrow (Fri 31st) show the rapid drop in surface pressure, and sharp increase in wind speed, as the low approaches near midday. The maximum temperature for CT on Fri 31st is likely to be 13C with a gale force wind.

Compiled by Gordon Richardson - Stormchasing SA

Twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes are Healthy as Mission Begins

NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes are flying in Earth orbit after a successful liftoff and ascent this morning. The probes launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 4:05 a.m. EDT after a smooth countdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The probes were released from the rocket's Centaur upper stage one at a time and sent off into different orbits, kicking off the two-year mission to study Earth's radiation belts.

"I'm very happy to report that we have two happy spacecraft on orbit," said Rick Fitzgerald, RBSP project manager from the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the mission for NASA. "Many thanks to ULA and Launch Services Program for getting us on orbit, giving us a great ride and injecting us in exactly the orbit that we wanted to be in."

During the RBSP mission, the identical twin spacecraft will fly in separate orbits throughout the inner and outer Van Allen radiation belts that encircle the Earth. The sun influences the behavior of the radiation belts, which in turn can impact life on Earth and endanger astronauts and spacecraft in orbit.

"Today, 11 years of hard work was realized by the science team as a number of us stood together watching the rocket lift off the pad," said Nicky Fox, RBSP deputy project scientist from APL. "(The spacecraft) are now at home in the Van Allen belts where they belong, and we can all finally breathe out now that solar panels are out on both of them."

The spacecraft will go through a 60-day commissioning period before beginning its prime mission.

"Now that the spacecraft are safely in orbit, the real fun begins," said Mike Luther, deputy associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "After the commissioning period, we get to then begin to perform the most detailed study of Earth's radiation belts that's ever been undertaken."

- SpaceRef.

Isaac-battered barriers intentionally breached


Officials have begun a controlled release of water at a Mississippi dam that was battered by Hurricane Isaac.

Tens of thousands residents are being evacuated in Louisiana downstream of the barrier at Lake Tangipahoa, which is damaged but remains intact.

Already having weakened to a tropical storm, Isaac was downgraded further to a tropical depression late on Thursday.

But forecasts say it could continue to bring heavy rain as it moves north into the drought-hit central US.

The storm has left hundreds of homes flooded in its wake while passing over Louisiana

Residents with boats have been plucking people from the roofs of their homes.

Up to 50,000 residents are being evacuated in south-eastern Louisiana downstream of the impaired dam at Lake Tangipahoa. There are fears the barrier could fail, flooding an already swollen river.

One of the hardest-hit areas was Plaquemines, near New Orleans, where waters overflowed a levee on Wednesday, causing widespread flooding.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated, but many residents stayed, believing they could ride out a far weaker storm than Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has ordered buses to the area to help evacuate residents, Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess told local broadcaster WWL.

In the town of Amite, Louisiana, Police Chief Jerry Trabona said officers were going door-to-door along the Tangipahoa River.
Power cuts

More than 7,000 National Guard troops, the US reserve armed forces, have been called into service across four states, the majority in Louisiana.

Gov Jindal activated all Louisiana guardsmen on Wednesday, which would bring total forces in the state to more than 8,000. They have helped rescue or evacuate more than 3,000 people in the state since the storm hit.

By 16:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Thursday, Isaac had weakened further to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35mph (55km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

But forecasters say Isaac could still dump up to 14in (35cm) of rain over much of Louisiana, Mississippi, south-west Alabama and Arkansas through to Friday. Some areas could see rainfall of up to 25in, the NHC said.

The storm pummelled New Orleans on Wednesday, on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the region and killed at least 1,800 people in the Gulf Coast area.

Defence systems built to protect the city passed their first major test, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

By Thursday morning, more than one million residents of Louisiana and Mississippi were without power due to Isaac, according to the US Department of Energy.

Isaac is expected to move further inland over the next several days before breaking up over the weekend.

The storm killed at least 24 people as it passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic earlier this week.

- BBC

NASA Launches Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission


An artist's rendition of what the two Radiation Belt Storm Probe spacecraft will look like in space in this undated handout image courtesy of NASA. Image by: NASA / Reuters

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), the first twin-spacecraft mission designed to explore our planet's radiation belts, launched into the predawn skies at 4:05a.m. EDT Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

"Scientists will learn in unprecedented detail how the radiation belts are populated with charged particles, what causes them to change and how these processes affect the upper reaches of the atmosphere around Earth," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. "The information collected from these probes will benefit the public by allowing us to better protect our satellites and understand how space weather affects communications and technology on Earth."

The two satellites, each weighing just less than 1,500 pounds, comprise the first dual-spacecraft mission specifically created to investigate this hazardous regions of near-Earth space, known as the radiation belts. These two belts, named for their discoverer, James Van Allen, encircle the planet and are filled with highly charged particles. The belts are affected by solar storms and coronal mass ejections and sometimes swell dramatically. When this occurs, they can pose dangers to communications, GPS satellites and human spaceflight.

"We have never before sent such comprehensive and high-quality instruments to study high radiation regions of space," said Barry Mauk, RBSP project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. "RBSP was crafted to help us learn more about, and ultimately predict, the response of the radiation belts to solar inputs."

The hardy RBSP satellites will spend the next 2 years looping through every part of both Van Allen belts. By having two spacecraft in different regions of the belts at the same time, scientists finally will be able to gather data from within the belts themselves, learning how they change over space and time. Designers fortified RBSP with special protective plating and rugged electronics to operate and survive within this punishing region of space that other spacecraft avoid. In addition, a space weather broadcast will transmit selected data from those instruments around the clock, giving researchers a check on current conditions near Earth.

"The excitement of seeing the spacecraft in orbit and beginning to perform science measurements is like no other thrill," said Richard Fitzgerald, RBSP project manager at APL. "The entire RBSP team, from across every organization, worked together to produce an amazing pair of spacecraft."

RBSP was lifted into orbit aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41, as the rocket's plume lit the dark skies over the Florida coast. The first RBSP spacecraft is scheduled to separate from the Atlas rocket's Centaur booster 1 hour, 18 minutes, 52 seconds after launch. The second RBSP spacecraft is set to follow 12 minutes, 14 seconds later. Mission controllers using APL's 60-foot satellite dish will establish radio contact with each probe immediately after separation.

During the next 60 days, operators will power up all flight systems and science instruments and deploy long antenna booms, two of which are more than 54 yards long. Data about the particles that swirl through the belts, and the fields and waves that transport them, will be gathered by five instrument suites designed and operated by teams at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark; the University of Iowa in Iowa City; University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; and the University of New Hampshire in Durham; and the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Va. The data will be analyzed by scientists across the nation almost immediately.

RBSP is the second mission in NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program to explore aspects of the connected sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. LWS is managed by the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. APL built the RBSP spacecraft and will manage the mission for NASA. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy is responsible for launch management. United Launch Alliance provided the Atlas V launch service.

For more information about NASA's RBSP mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/rbsp

- SpaceRef.

Watch Out for the Blue Moon


August 29, 2012: When someone says "Once in a Blue Moon," you know what they mean: Rare, seldom, even absurd.

This year it means August 31st.

For the second time this month, the Moon is about to become full. There was one full Moon on August 1st/2nd, and now a second is coming on August 31st. According to modern folklore, whenever there are two full Moons in a calendar month, the second one is "blue."

Cue up the Elvis records! "Blue Moon…. You saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own." In song and literature, blue moons have long symbolized lost love and melancholy. Elvis set the standard for lunar heartbreak in his 1956 pop hit "Blue Moon."

But will the moody Moon of August 31st actually turn blue? Probably not.

Most Blue Moons look pale gray and white, indistinguishable from any other Moon you've ever seen. Squeezing a second full Moon into a calendar month doesn't change the physical properties of the Moon itself, so its color remains the same.

With that caveat in mind, however, be aware that on rare occasions it can happen.

A truly-blue Moon usually requires a volcanic eruption. Back in 1883, for example, people saw blue moons almost every night after the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa exploded with the force of a 100-megaton nuclear bomb. Plumes of ash rose to the very top of Earth's atmosphere, and the Moon … it turned blue!

Krakatoa's ash was the reason. Some of the plumes were filled with particles 1 micron wide, about the same as the wavelength of red light. Particles of this special size strongly scatter red light, while allowing blue light to pass through. Krakatoa’s clouds thus acted like a blue filter.

People also saw blue-colored Moons in 1983 after the eruption of the El Chichon volcano in Mexico. And there are reports of blue Moons caused by Mt. St. Helens in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Certain forest fires can do the same trick. A famous example is the giant muskeg fire of Sept. 1953 in Alberta, Canada. Clouds of smoke containing micron-sized oil droplets produced lavender suns and blue Moons all the way from North America to England.

There are plenty of wildfires burning in the hot, dry USA this month. If any of them produce smoke with an extra dose of micron-sized particles, the full Moon might really turn blue.

On the other hand, maybe it will turn red. Often, when the moon is hanging low, it looks red for the same reason that sunsets are red. The atmosphere is full of aerosols much smaller than the ones injected by volcanoes. Measuring less than a micron in diameter, these aerosols scatter blue light, while leaving the red behind. For this reason, red Blue Moons are far more common than blue Blue Moons.

Sounds absurd? Yes, but that's what a Blue Moon is all about. Step outside at sunset on August 31st, look east at the moonrise, and see what color presents itself.


Author: Dr. Tony Phillips| Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

High-resolution view of Havre Seamount Pumice


Strands of pumice curl around L’Esperance Rock in this satellite image collected on August 24, 2012. Pumice is light gray, water is near-black, and the sparsely vegetated island is red in the false-color image.
The pumice was erupted in mid-july by the Havre Seamount, an underwater volcano about 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the northwest. In the weeks following the eruption, pumice spread throughout the Kermadec Islands, a volcanic archipelago extending north of New Zealand. The image was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard the Terra satellite.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data from the NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
Instrument: 
Terra - ASTER

Animation of Hurricane Isaac


Hurricane Isaac moved towards New Orleans and the United States’ Gulf Coast on August 28, 2012. This movie shows the movement of the hurricane from dawn to dusk. GOES-14—a geostationary weather satellite temporarily taken out of on-orbit storage—took one image every minute, compared to the standard of one image every 15 minutes. The “super rapid scan” images reveal the movement of clouds at different altitudes, and the rapid development of thunderstorms near the storm’s core as evening approached.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) normally operates a pair of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites—GOES-East and GOES-West—to monitor the nation’s weather. Before becoming operational, GOES satellites are stored in space, which is safer and less expensive than preserving them on the ground. NOAA took GOES-14 out of storage in August of 2012 to evaluate applications of high-frequency imagery.
NASA animation using images from NOAA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. Caption by Robert Simmon.
Instrument: 
GOES

Thursday, 30 August 2012

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 30 August 2012 16h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas, gale force winds and high veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHT IN EXCESS ON 4M IS EXPECTED BETWEEN LAMBERTS BAY AND PORT ALFRED ON FRIDAY, SPREADING TO PORT EDWARD ON SATURDAY. 3. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE INTERIOR OF THE EASTERN CAPE. WATCHES: -------- 4. GALE FORCE SOUTH-WESTERLY WINDS ARE POSSIBLE BETWEEN PLETTENBERG BAY AND PORT ALFRED FRIDAY NIGHT, EXTENDING TO PORT EDWARD ON SATURDAY. 
  • Free State Province -Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE FREE STATE ON FRIDAY.
  • Gauteng Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN GAUTENG ON FRIDAY. 
  • Kwazulu Natal Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN KAWZULU-NATAL ON FRIDAY. 
  • Limpopo Province - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts 
  • Mpumalanga Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN MPUMALANGA ON FRIDAY. 
  • North West Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE NORTH_WEST PROVINCE ON FRIDAY. 
  • Northern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: High veld fire danger rating
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN THE EASTERN PARTS OF THE EASTERN CAPE??? ON FRIDAY. WATCHES: -------- 2. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE HIGH GROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ????ON SATURDAY. 
  • Western Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Very rough seas, gale force winds and very cold.
  • Detail: Issued: 30-08-2012 1 VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHT IN EXCESS OF 4M IS EXPECTED BETWEEN TABLE BAY AND PLETTENBERG BAY ON FRIDAY AND BETWEEN LAMBERTS BAY AND PLETTENBERG BAY ON SATURDAY. 2. GALE FORCE NORTH-WESTERLY WINDS ARE EXPECTED BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS. WATCHES: -------- 3. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE HIGH GROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON SATURDAY. 
- SAWS

SAWDOS: Once again weather warnings are misleading and confusing.  See Northern Cape Province Warning. Readers, please note that the SAWDOS is not responsible for the contents or correctness of Severe Weather Warnings by the SA Weather Service. SAWDOS will not be held accountable for incorrect warnings nor for any grammar or spelling mistakes. The issue of severe weather warnings are the sole responsibility of the SA Weather Service.




SA Weather Satellite Image: 30 August 2012 15h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

Cold-fronts and more snow SW&S-Cape 31 August - 01September 2012


There is still some time before landfall (36 hours), but this morning's 06Z GFS model run (Thurs 30th) continues to show highly favourable conditions for snow below 1200-1400m over the SW-Cape (Boland and Overberg) mountains early on Sat 1st.

The GFS snow accumulation parameter (not shown below) indicates at least 5cm of snow over the SW-Cape by 06Z on Sat 1st. Much more snow is likely over the high ground (1600-1800m), due to orographic effects (and limitations in the GFS terrain model).

This custom GFS chart shows the likely precipitation between 18Z and 06Z on Sat 1st, as well as the freezing level at 00Z. I will post a more detailed chart closer to the time.


- Compiled by Gordon Richardson - Stormchasing SA

Storms overshadow UN climate talks


A Chinese fishing boat navigates through rough waves caused by Typhoon Bolaven in waters off Seogwipo on Jeju Island, South Korea. (Kim Ho-cheon, Yonhap, AP)

Bangkok - World climate change negotiators faced warnings on Thursday that a string of extreme weather events around the globe show urgent action on emission cuts is needed as they opened new talks in Bangkok.

The week-long meeting in the Thai capital, which was devastated by major floods in 2011, aims to prepare the ground for a meeting of ministers under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha starting in November.

"This meeting opens in the immediate aftermath of a deadly typhoon in the Republic of Korea and a hurricane that hit near New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Katrina - powerful reminders of the urgent need to lower greenhouse gas emissions," said Marlene Moses of Nauru, who chairs the Alliance of Small Island States.

For small islands particularly vulnerable to climate change, "development prospects, viability and survival hang in the balance", she warned.

Some experts believe the UN target to limit the rise in global average temperatures to 2°C is already unattainable.

Storms

At least 18 people were killed this week by the most powerful typhoon to hit South Korea in almost a decade and thousands of people were evacuated in New Orleans as Hurricane Isaac pounded the southern US city.

In the Philippines, storms and flooding from torrential rains killed at least 170 people in August, while the US Midwest breadbasket is reeling from the worst drought in more than 50 years.

Scientists hesitate about pinning extreme weather events to climate change, which is a longer-term phenomenon.

But they also note that worse droughts, floods and storms are consistent with models that link disruption to Earth's climate system with heat-trapping fossil-fuel emissions.

They also point to other evidence that climate change is on the march, including the announcement this week that sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to a record seasonal low this summer.

No major breakthroughs are expected at the Bangkok event, an informal meeting of senior officials from more than 190 countries.

But delegates aim to make some progress on the long road set out in Durban in December to negotiating an accord that would from 2020 bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single legal roof for the first time.

If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact would become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

In the meantime, negotiators face the challenge of reaching an agreement on a second commitment period for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose first roster of legally-binding carbon curbs expires at the end of this year.

- AFP/News24

Motlanthe: Kernprogram nog nie uitgemaakte saak

Kaapstad – Die regering het nog nie ‘n besluit geneem oor ‘n uitgebreide kernprogram of wat dit gaan kos nie, het adj.pres. Kgalema Motlanthe gesê.

“Ons is nog nie in ‘n posisie waar sulke besluite geneem is nie. Die vrae oor die koste en die volhoubaarheid is nog nie geantwoord nie,” het Motlanthe aan verslaggewers in Kaapstad gesê.

Motlanthe, wat die voorsitter is van die nasionale kernenergie-bestuur- en koördineringskomitee, sê hy het waarskuwings in die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan oor die hoë koste van kernkrag ter harte geneem.

Hy het egter ook gesê Suid-Afrika se ondervinding in die veld van kernkrag, wat tans by die Koeberg-sentrale gegenereer word, kan van groot waarde wees.

“Ons sal nie uitgaan en alles koop nie, ons sal net uitgaan en koop wat ons nie self kan vervaardig nie,” het hy bygevoeg.

- SAPA/Nuus24

GFIMS Global Fire Alerts - South Africa


Your Area of Interest (Country) : South Africa

Fires detected over the past 24 hours in your area-of-interest : 374

(NOTE: Cloud cover might obscure active fire detections. The fire points will be listed only when the total number of active fires detected is less than or equal to 50)

This email was generated on 2012-08-30 , 04:04:13 UTC.

- UN-FAO/UMD/NASA

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 30 August 2012 04h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Advisory: Be aware
  • Subject: Veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Valid: 31/08/2012 to 01/09/2012 ---------------------------- 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN NORTHERN PARTS ON FRIDAY. 2. GALE FORCE SW'LY WINDS ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE SOUTH COAST SPREADING EASTWARDS ON SATURDAY. 
  • Western Cape Province - Watch: Be prepared
  • Subject: Very rough, very cold and gale force winds
  • Detail: Valid 31/08/2012 to 01/09/2012: ------------------------------- 1. VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHTS BETWEEN 4-6M ARE EXPECTED BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS ON FRIDAY SPREADING EASTWARDS TO PLETTENBERG BAY ON SATURDAY. 2. A GALE FORCE NORTHWESTERLY WIND (35KT OR 65KM/H) IS EXPECTED DURING FRIDAY AFTERNOON BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS. 3. VERY COLD, WET AND WINDY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE SOUTH-WESTERN PARTS OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON FRIDAY. 4. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE WESTERN HIGHGROUND OF THE NORTHERN CAPE AND NORTH-WESTERN HIGHGROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON SATURDAY. 
  • All other Provinces - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts 
- SAWS

SA Weather Satellite Image: 30 August 2012 07h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

Update: Cold-fronts and more snow SW&S-Cape 31 August 2012 -01September 2012


Not much new to report today (Wed 29th), with all the models being very consistent (compared to earlier runs). This is likely to be a short & sharp and powerful storm, but clearing rapidly (unlike some recent lingering ones). IMO this could provide the best snow vistas for the Cape Metropole (Boland and Overberg) that we have seen so far this winter.

The SAWS have put out a number of warnings.

- Compiled by Gordon Richardson - Stormchasing SA

Kruger anthrax outbreak contained

Johannesburg - An outbreak of anthrax that killed 30 roan antelope in the Kruger National Park has been contained, park spokesperson William Mabasa said on Wednesday.

"There have been no changes to the situation in the park," he said.

"Our people are on the ground to contain the situation and it hasn't spread to any other areas."

Mabasa said that it would be impossible to vaccinate all the animals in the park.

"We are only vaccinating the roan antelopes because they are a rare species and we must protect them."

On Tuesday, Mabasa said the carcasses were found at the weekend in an enclosure created for breeding.

"We are burning the carcasses and also vaccinating the other animals," he said.

The park had about 100 roan antelope before the outbreak.

- SAPA/News24

Final report on George airport runway


The SA Airlink Embraer 135-LR on a public road after the incident in December 2009. (Photo: Lizette da Silva)

GEORGE NEWS - The South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) has released its final report on the SA Airlink incident in 2009 at George Airport and comes to the conclusion that it was not possible for the crew to bring the aircraft to a safe stop, due to the wet runway surface.

The incident happened on 7 December 2009 when an Embraer 135-LR aircraft overran the runway, burst through a perimeter fence and ended up on a public road. The final report confirms the findings of the previous interim report, in which the surface of the runway was also blamed.

The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) has said it would comment once the report had been studied. A spokesperson for Sacaa confirmed that the final report, released on Monday replaces the interim report published earlier. The aviation authority confirmed that George Airport currently "meets all requirements as per international standards", but said it did not wish to comment on questions raised in the report, as Sacaa has been subpoenaed and is expected to be called to testify in court.

The report states that although the runway had been grooved for water to run off, the grooves were not according to international standards. Grooves were cut only on the right-hand side of the runway and as a result of pressure from numerous landings, the asphalt had crept and several grooves had partially closed up.

Cracks had also formed and the grooved area had been a cause of concern for airport officials because of inadequate drainage during rainy conditions.

Normal touchdown
The landing was captured by three surveillance cameras - on the airport building, facing the apron and pointing towards the runway. According to the reports by Air Traffic Control (ATC), there was nothing untoward about the touchdown and no communication from the crew to indicate problems.

Once ATC realised the aircraft had veered to the right and off the runway, the crash alarm was activated and the aerodrome rescue and fire-fighting personnel responded swiftly.
The pilot stated there was nothing abnormal about the touchdown and he applied braking action. The 'pilot not flying' (PNF) described the landing as smooth and said that he had checked that the spoilers had deployed after touchdown. When rea-lising there was a problem, he tried to assist with the braking.

According to the flight data recor-der, the spoilers opened two seconds after touchdown and remained open until the aircraft came to a halt at the bottom of the embankment.

Sacaa concluded that friction tests of the runway surface and actual aircraft performance tests conducted at George Airport afterwards, apparently did not match. Although the friction tests indicated good braking action, substantially above the required limit for braking, the aircraft exceeded required limits for landing by 6% and on rejected takeoffs by 28%.

Sealant still questioned
The Sacaa report also again refers to the likelihood of the fog spray sealant contributing to the accident. "The bituminous fog-spray reduced the macro-texture available for water to dissipate from the runway. It should be kept in mind that water is not a compressible substance and needs to flow off or be channelled off in the case of a grooved runway surface as soon as possible to allow for proper tyre-to-runway contact. Surface texture has a significant influence on the wet surface friction characteristics of pneumatic tyres."

Regulatory oversight
The investigative team stated they were concerned with the regulatory oversight of the airport, as the Civil Aviation Authority had conducted an operator licence renewal audit, during which no non-compliance at the airport was found.
The runway resurfacing was still in progress at the time, but the fog spray sealant being used for the runway surfacing did raise a concern at the time.

The report continues: "The fact that no non-compliance was found could be attributed to the fact that the audit team did not require any additional testing to be conducted on the runway and acted purely on the data required from their checklist.

"The investigation team found the checklist to be lacking critical content, especially with refe-
rence to the rehabilitation process of a runway, which falls outside its scope.

"The checklist did not require any additional test data, such as a runway friction test, to ensure that aircraft safety was not compromised."

"This again brings into question the issue of the aviation authority being both the regulatory body and the investigating authority," says aviation analyst Linden Birns. "In the UK, USA, Canada and France there is total separation between the regulatory and investigating authorities."

* Na 'n omvattende ondersoek is die finale verslag van die SA Lugvaartowerheid oor die ongeluk by George-lughawe in 2009 vandeesweek gepubliseer. Die bevinding is dat die oorsaak die oppervlak van die aanloopbaan en die nat weer was.

Puddles on the George runway in 2009. (Photo: Sacaa)

The grooves of the runway in 2009. The runway has subsequently been fixed.

- George Herald

SAWDOS:  The final report can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Australia and Indonesia search for missing asylum boat


Australian and Indonesian authorities are searching for a missing boat, believed to be carrying asylum seekers.

Six people were plucked from the water early Thursday morning by a commercial ship 42 nautical miles west of Java, Australian officials confirmed.

A distress call on Wednesday said the boat, carrying 150 people, had engine trouble, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

Indonesian authorities searched the waters but could not locate the boat.

''The search and rescue operation will continue throughout the day with the focus on recovering survivors,'' said an AMSA statement.

The six survivors were found by the APL Bahrain, reports said. The group of Afghan men had been in the water for 24 hours, the captain of the ship told Australian media.

There were also women and children on the missing boat, he added.

The number of missing people could not be confirmed, Australia's Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare told reporters.

"We have grave fears for a lot more," he said. ''Don't underestimate how difficult this task is; don't underestimate how big the sea that we're searching is.''
'Dangerous boat journeys'

Asylum seekers often target Christmas Island, off Australia's northwest coast, to get to the country. They make the journey from Indonesia in boats that are usually overloaded and poorly maintained.

In June, a boat with 200 asylum seekers sank near the island - 17 bodies were found and another 70 were feared dead after a three-day search. That was the second boat to sink in a week, reigniting the debate on asylum in parliament.

Last week, Australia said it will increase its intake of refugees to 20,000 a year, from the current 13,750, in line with recommendations by an expert panel.

Lawmakers also recently approved the re-opening of offshore processing camps for asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG.

The moves are aimed at deterring asylum seekers from making the dangerous journey to Australia by boat, amid an increasing number of arrivals.

- BBC

Crazy Clouds?

Mammatus clouds over Saskatchewan. Photo: Robinlawless

There are way more types of clouds in the world than “big, white, and puffy,” despite what the drawings of nearly every five year old or, let’s face it, adult would suggest. Varying with altitude, moisture content and how the atmosphere is moving around, clouds come in a vast array of unusual shapes and sizes. Some take on undulating forms, like gravity wave clouds, which arise when a stream of wind undulates up and down as it flows through the air, with clouds forming at the peaks of the wave and clearings at the troughs. And that’s just the beginning. When unusual clouds arise, people tend to get pretty excited.

- Smithsonian.com

16 year old injured in three storey plunge


A 16 year old girl has been injured after falling from the 3rd storey window of a flat on Edenpark, Johannesburg.

The team from the Fire Department were first to arrive at the scene and they immediately initiated treatment on the teen. She had sustained a possible back injury as well multiple broken bones, and despite not remembering the fall, she was orientated and alert.

The girl was treated by the Advanced Life Support Paramedic and taken to a hospital in the area.

Police are still investigating the details as to why the teen fell from the window.

- ER24

Tropical Storm Isaac


Early on August 28, 2012, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi-NPP satellite captured this nighttime view of Tropical Storm Isaac and the cities near the Gulf Coast of the United States. The image was acquired just after local midnight by the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses light intensification to enable the detection of dim signals. In this case, the clouds of Isaac were lit by moonlight.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS Day Night Band data. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.
Instrument: 
Suomi NPP - VIIRS - NASA

Mustang Complex Fires in Idaho


Sparked by lightning in July, the Mustang Complex fire had burned 149,828 acres (60,633 hectares) of rugged terrain near Salmon, Idaho, by August 29, 2012. The fire burned in steep, inaccessible terrain.
This natural-color satellite image shows thick smoke from the fires streaming northeast toward Montana. It was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 28, 2012. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.
By August 23, more than 1,106,545 acres (447,803 hectares) had burned in Idaho—more than any other state except for Oregon. By August 29, more than 7,277,838 acres (2,945,236 hectares) had burned throughout the United States in what has proven to be one of the most severe wildfire seasons in the last decade.
  1. Reference

  2. Inciweb. (2012, August 29). Mustang Complex Fire. Accessed August 29, 2012.
  3. National Interagency Fire Center. (2012, August 29). Year-to-Date Statistics. Accessed August 29, 2012.
  4. National Interagency Fire Center. (2012, August 29). National Year-to-Date Statistics on Fires and Acres Burned by State. Accessed August 29, 2012.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
Instrument: 
Aqua - MODIS - NASA

Tropical Storm Bolaven


On August 28, 2012, Tropical Storm Bolaven left five fishermen dead and 10 more missing in waters around Jeju (Cheju) Island, off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. As Bolaven moved north along South Korea’s west coast, it left about 200,000 households without power, and forced the cancellation of flights and ferry services. Bolaven was due to make landfall in North Korea later in the day.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image of Tropical Storm Bolaven on August 28. Storm clouds covered the Korean Peninsula, Korea Bay, and Bo Hai, as well as parts of the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.
The same day that MODIS acquired this image, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Bolaven had maximum sustained winds of 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour) and gusts up to 70 knots (130 kilometers per hour). The JTWC projected storm track showed Bolaven heading toward the north-northeast, over North Korea, China, and Russia.
  1. References

  2. CNN. (2012, August 28) 5 fishermen dead, 10 missing as Typhoon Bolaven reaches Korean Peninsula. Accessed August 28, 2012.
  3. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. (2012, August 28) Typhoon 16W (Bolaven) Warning. [Online] URL: http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/wp1612web.txt. Accessed August 28, 2012.
  4. Unisys Weather. (2012, August 28) Bolaven Tracking Information. Accessed August 28, 2012.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.
Instrument: 
Aqua - MODIS - NASA

Wildfires in Siberia


On August 28, 2012, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of several wildfires burning in the Khabarovsk region of eastern Russia. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. Large fires have burned across Siberia throughout the summer.
  1. Reference

  2. MODIS Rapid Response. (2012, August 28) Image Gallery. Accessed August 28, 2012.
  3. Russia Profile. (2012, August 28) Khabarowsk Territory. Accessed August 28, 2012.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
Instrument: 
Aqua - MODIS - NASA

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 29 August 2012 16h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Advisory: Be aware
  • Subject: Veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Valid: 31/08/2012 to 01/09/2012 ---------------------------- 1. A HIGH VELD FIRE DANGER RATING IS EXPECTED IN NORTHERN PARTS ON FRIDAY. 2. GALE FORCE SW'LY WINDS ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE SOUTH COAST SPREADING EASTWARDS ON SATURDAY. 
  • Western Cape Province - Watch: Be prepared
  • Subject: Very rough, very cold and gale force winds
  • Detail: Valid 31/08/2012 to 01/09/2012: ------------------------------- 1. VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHTS BETWEEN 4-6M ARE EXPECTED BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS ON FRIDAY SPREADING EASTWARDS TO PLETTENBERG BAY ON SATURDAY. 2. A GALE FORCE NORTHWESTERLY WIND (35KT OR 65KM/H) IS EXPECTED DURING FRIDAY AFTERNOON BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS. 3. VERY COLD, WET AND WINDY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE SOUTH-WESTERN PARTS OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON FRIDAY. 4. VERY COLD CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE WESTERN HIGHGROUND OF THE NORTHERN CAPE AND NORTH-WESTERN HIGHGROUND OF THE WESTERN CAPE ON SATURDAY. 
  • All other Provinces - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts 
- SAWS

SA Weather Satellite Image: 29 August 2012 19h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

Hurricane Isaac breaks levee near sodden New Orleans


New Orleans is hunkering down as Hurricane Isaac pummels the city with strong winds and drenching rain.

The hurricane is drenching the US Gulf Coast exactly seven years after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, but is much less powerful.

The city has closed its new floodgates in a bid to protect it from the effects of high waters brought by sustained winds of up to 80mph (130km/h).

Sea water has already breached a levee in a town to the south of the city.

Caitlin Campbell, a spokeswoman for Plaquemines Parish - where Isaac first touched down - said water was running over an 18-mile (29-km) stretch of the levee and some homes were flooded.

After hitting Plaquemines, the Category One hurricane headed back out to sea, before making a second landfall further west at Port Fourchon at about 02:00 (07:00 GMT) local time.

There are now reports of serious flooding and people stranded by rising waters in the Braithwaite area, just across the Mississippi river from metropolitan New Orleans.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said the damage wrought by Isaac was worse than Katrina.

Mr Nungesser told local broadcaster WWL water in the area was standing at 12 to 14 feet, and that 75 people had been rescued from Braithwaite, with at least 25 still trapped in properties.

The overtopped 8ft-high levee in the east of Plaquemines Parish is not part of the upgraded federal system protecting New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Braithwaite, on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, is home to some 1,800 people and lies just outside the new defensive wall.

"I don't know who's calling this a category 1, but this is no category 1," Mr Nungesser said. "My house has more damage than it did during Katrina."

"Not only did we see the worst case scenario, it got worse than that by this storm just stalling," he later told CNN, adding that the parish had been in the process of upgrading its own levee system.

Strong winds were hampering full-scale air and water rescue efforts in the area, but the BBC's Alastair Leithead reports local residents were trying to make rescues with small boats. National Guard was also set to launch a rescue effort.
Waiting out the storm

At 11:00 local time, the centre of the storm was close to the town of Houma, and 45 miles (60km) south-west of New Orleans and moving towards the city at about 6 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The slow-moving storm could take 12 hours to travel as far as Baton Rouge, a town 70 miles to the north-west of New Orleans.

In New Orleans, the updated levees appeared to be holding as the city was lashed by rain and winds.

"The system is performing as intended, as we expected," US Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Rachel Rodi said. "We don't see any issues with the hurricane system at this point."

But storm surges are still a concern, with peaks of up to 12ft (3.7m) forecast in parts of Mississippi and south-eastern Louisiana. Rainfalls of up to 1ft 8in are forecast across wide areas, along with a high chance of isolated tornadoes along the coast.

The bowl-shaped city of New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to storms, with the centre of the city the furthest below sea-level.

Many residents of New Orleans have chosen to secure their homes but stay put, saying they were not too concerned by Isaac.

"I feel safe," said Pamela Young from her home in the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighbourhood devastated by Katrina.

"Everybody's talking 'going, going', but the thing is, when you go, there's no telling what will happen. The storm isn't going to just hit here.

"If the wind isn't too rough, I can stay right here. If the water comes up, I can go upstairs."

Officials are urging residents who have not evacuated to stay in place until high winds dissipate. President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing federal funds to be released to local authorities.

About 600,000 people were without power across five states, the majority in Louisiana, as of Wednesday afternoon, and the I-10 highway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge was closed because of high waters.

A major highway in Mississippi was also blocked in sections by storm surge flooding.

Isaac killed at least 24 people as it passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic earlier this week.

It has also caused significant flooding and damage across the Caribbean and forced a day's delay to the start of the Republican party's congress in Tampa, Florida.


- BBC

Hurricane Isaac drenches U.S. Gulf coast, tests New Orleans


(Reuters) - Floodwater from Hurricane Isaac jumped a levee on the outskirts of New Orleans on Wednesday, but the multibillion-dollar barriers built to protect the city itself after the 2005 Katrina disaster were not breached, officials said.

The lumbering Category 1 hurricane was lashing the Gulf Coast, threatening to flood towns in Mississippi and Louisiana with a deluge of rain, storm surges of up to 12 feet and top sustained winds up to 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour).

With the storm nearly stalled, rainfall accumulations totaling as much as 20 inches in some areas were expected.

"The federal levee system ... is fine," New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu told local radio.

"There are no risks. It is holding exactly as we expected it to and is performing exactly as it should. There are no people on rooftops from flooding that even approximates what happened during Katrina," Landrieu said.

Police and National Guard units, many wielding automatic assault rifles, patrolled the virtually empty downtown quarter of the port city, which normally hums with tourists drawn to its jazz bars, Creole cuisine and French colonial architecture.

Tree limbs and street signs littered the streets and power was cut intermittently throughout the city, but authorities reported no security problems.

"Thus far it's been pretty easy," said Captain Jeremy Falanga of the Louisiana National Guard, who was stationed with troopers in front of the city's convention center. "Not many people are outside, it's pretty buttoned up."

In low-lying Plaquemines Parish, which stretches southeast from New Orleans, emergency officials reported the overtopping of an 8-foot (2.4-meter) high levee between the Braithwaite and White Ditch districts.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said about 2,000 residents of the area had been ordered to evacuate but only about half were confirmed to have gotten out before Isaac made landfall late on Tuesday.

Isaac was wobbling northwestward near six mph, a slow pace that increases the threat of rain-induced flooding.

"On the east bank right now, we have reports of people on their roofs and attics and 12 to 14 foot of water," Nungesser told CNN.

"This storm has delivered more of a punch than people thought," he added.

Plaquemines Parish is cut in two lengthwise by the Mississippi River as it flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Much of it lies outside the greater New Orleans levee system, and construction projects to bolster protection are not complete.

It was not immediately clear how many people may have been stranded in the area, as driving rain and hurricane-force winds prevented a full-scale search.

But Plaquemines Parish public information officer Caitlin Campbell said there were no reports of injuries or deaths.

"The back levee along that area has been overflowing with water since earlier today. Up to 12 feet of water has filled that community from the back levee to the Mississippi River," Campbell said in an email statement.

"Rescue efforts are now in progress. Local residents are rescuing other residents at this time," she said.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who helped restore calm to New Orleans after Katrina, credited the "Cajun Navy" for conducting initial search-and-rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish.

He was referring to local boatmen on the coastal peninsula, plucking neighbors from flooded homes to safety.

BLACKOUTS

Isaac was the first test for the $14.5 billion flood defense system of walls, floodgates, levees and pumps built after Katrina's storm surge. Katrina left large parts of New Orleans swamped and killed 1,800 people in the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Hundreds in and around New Orleans drowned in 2005 and many survivors waited for days to be plucked from their rooftops by helicopters. New Orleans endured days of deadly disorder and widespread looting.

While not nearly as strong as Katrina -- a Category 3 hurricane when it slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005 -- Isaac was a threat that authorities had warned repeatedly about underestimating.

Timothy Doody, president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority, said the storm surge from Isaac had seen the Mississippi River rise eight feet in New Orleans between early Tuesday and Wednesday.

"The water coming up into the Mississippi River appears to be more than forecast," he said.

The river, which had been extremely low due to the extended Midwest drought was at three feet (0.9 meter) before the storm and the level rose to 11 feet (3.3 meter), Doody said.

Some 409,000 Louisiana customers of utility Entergy Corp were without power as of Wednesday morning, the company reported. It warned that it would be unable to begin restoring power until winds drop below 30 mph.

Areas affected by power outages included about 60 percent of New Orleans.

While most city residents had opted to weather Isaac in their homes, that was no option for the homeless.

"It was wet last night," said Stanley Lancaster, 50, who spent the night under an overhang by the city's convention center. "I'm just going to sit and wait till it stops."

At 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), Isaac's top sustained winds had weakened slightly to 75 mph and the storm was centered about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It said hurricane force winds extended outward for 60 miles from the storm's center.

Isaac killed at least 23 people and caused significant flooding and damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before skirting the southern tip of Florida on Sunday and heading across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

It spared Tampa, Florida, where the Republican National Convention is being held. But it forced party leaders to reshuffle the schedule and tone down what some might have seen as excess celebration about Mitt Romney's presidential nomination as Gulf Coast residents faced danger.

Oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico nearly ground to a halt and ports and coastal refineries curtailed operations.

Energy companies along the Gulf Coast refining center braced for the storm's impact by shuttering some plants and running others at reduced rates ahead of Isaac's landfall.

Intense hurricanes such as Katrina -- which took out 4.5 million barrels per day of refining capacity at one point -- have flooded refineries, keeping them closed for extended periods and reducing fuel supplies.

This time, though, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that only 12 percent of the Gulf Coast's refining capacity had gone offline. Louisiana usually processes more than 3 million barrels per day of crude into products like gasoline.

Perceptions that the area's oil facilities would not sustain major damage left international benchmark Brent crude little changed in Wednesday afternoon trading at about $112.40 a barrel.

David Zelinsky, a meteorologist at the Miami-based Hurricane Center, cautioned that Isaac was not going away anytime soon.

"We expect it generally to continue moving very slowly through Louisiana today, even into tomorrow. Beyond that, as it begins to weaken we expect it to move into northern Louisiana late Thursday into Friday and then north into Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, that region after that," Zelinksy said.

"We want to stress to everyone that a lot of the effects can be felt well removed from the center," he said.

- Reuters

Two children burnt in house fire


A devastating and tragic fire has claimed the life of two children, after the fire broke out in their home in Kwa Thema in Springs.

The eleven and six year old children were found inside one of the rooms of the house, badly burnt and they appeared to have been clutching one another. With their little bodies that badly burnt, there was no more that rescuers could do for them and the family looked on as paramedics declared them dead.

The cause of the fire is not known but a large portion of the house had been destroyed with Fire Fighters putting out the fire after which all necessary investigations will need to take place before the cause can be determined.

Three family members has managed to escape the burning house, and they stood outside watching, but fortunately not injured.

- ER24

Important Notice: SAWDOS



IMPORTANT: The S.A. Weather and Disaster Observation Service provides a weather and disaster observation (Weather and Disaster Watching/Spotting) service  in South Africa and not a weather prediction or disaster management service. Do not use the information on this web-page to predict weather or disasters.

The SAWDOS is not responsible for, nor do we endorse the opinions, accuracy, or comments of re-posted articles from other sites, unless specifically so indicated in our post. Often we may refer to articles which are diametrically opposed to our vision and mission, in order to provoke additional thought and further education.

Johan Terblanche
Founder: SA Weather and Disaster Observation Service
Mossel Bay



"SAWDOS - A SERVICE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE"

SA National Severe Weather Warnings: 29 August 2012 04h00 SAST


  • Eastern Cape Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Valid: 29/08/2012. A high veld fire danger rating is expected over the northern and central interior on Wednesday, persisting on Thursday.
  • Kwazulu Natal Province - Warning: Take action
  • Subject: Veld fire danger rating.
  • Detail: Valid: 29 /08/2012.  A high veld fire danger rating is expected over northwestern parts.
  • Western Cape Province - Advisory: Be aware
  • Subject: Very rough and very cold
  • Detail: Advisories: 1. VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH WAVE HEIGHTS BETWEEN 4 - 6M ARE EXPECTED BETWEEN CAPE POINT AND CAPE AGULHAS ON FRIDAY SPREADING EASTWARDS TO PLETTENBERG BAY ON SATURDAY. 2. VERY COLD, WET AND WINDY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE SOUTH-WESTERN PARTS OF THE WESTERN CAPE AND SOUTHERN HIGH GROUND OF THE NORTHERN CAPE ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. 
  • All other Provinces - No warnings nor advisories in effect
  • Subject: No Alerts
  • Detail: No Alerts 
- SAWS

SA Weather Satellite Image: 29 August 2012 06h00 SAST


Image: Eumetsat (Click on image for larger view.)

Lightning kills Pietermaritzburg family

Pietermaritzburg - A family of four was killed by a lightning strike in the Mama Lala area of Sweetwaters, Pietermaritzburg, on Tuesday afternoon, paramedics said.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the mother and father had been carrying their children across a field during a storm.

"Paramedics... arrived at the scene and found that a mother, father, a six-month-old girl, and a boy aged three, had sustained severe burns from the lightning strike."

They died on the scene.

- SAPA/News24

Hurricane Isaac makes landfall in SE Louisiana: NHC

(Reuters) - Hurricane Isaac made landfall in extreme Southeastern Louisiana, with strong winds and a dangerous storm surge occurring along the northern Gulf Coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Tuesday.

The hurricane was currently located about 10 miles south west of the mouth of the Mississippi river and about 90 miles south east of New Orleans, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (130 km per hour), NHC said.

- Reuters

Controlled detonation for WWII bomb found in Munich

A bomb disposal team has detonated an American bomb left over from World War II found in the German city of Munich.

The detonation happened shortly before 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in the Schwabing district and was heard across the city, local media report.

There are reports that sparks from the explosion caused the roofs of some neighbouring buildings to catch fire.

The bomb was discovered on Monday night by building workers at the site of an old bar that was being demolished.

Overnight, 2,500 residents were evacuated from the area closest to the bomb, with others living further away being told to stay in their homes.

Experts decided it was not possible to make the device safe because of its unusual fuse, which operated by means of a chemical reaction rather than the mechanical device that many Allied World War II bombs used.

The bomb was described as a highly explosive, a 550lb (250kg) device dropped by the Americans.

It is not unusual for big, unexploded bombs to be discovered in Germany, the BBC's Stephen Evans reports.

About 600 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are discovered in Germany every year.

They are usually defused safely, though in 2010 three bomb-disposal officers were killed during an attempt to make a bomb safe, our correspondent adds.

In December 2011, the biggest bomb disposal operation in Germany since 1945 was mounted in Koblenz to defuse two bombs from World War II found in the riverbed of the Rhine.

- BBC

NSRI - Table Bay Call


Wednesday 27 August:

Table Bay were called out at 18:21 for an overturned catamaran that was reported to be just on the other side of the Cape Town harbour breakwater wall with 2 people in the water and a couple of vessels trying to assist.

Spirit of Vodacom and Rotary Endeavor were activated immediately and Paula Leech, Table Bay Station commander went to the breakwater wall but could see no craft in difficulty.

After a few more phone calls it was established that the overturned vessel was in fact a hobie-cat and was closer to Milnerton … behind a huge tanker and that the yacht Esperance was standing by alongside.

Spirit of Vodacom launched at 19:00 and proceeded to the casualty with Rotary Endeavor 5 minutes behind. Esperance gave a position of 2.5NM NW of the breakwater and used a flashing torch to direct Spirit of Vodacom to their position.

Spirit of Vodacom arrived on scene at approximately 19:10. There was one person on the upturned hull. After numerous attempts to right the water-laden hobie in strong winds, a decision was made to tow her back to the V&A as she was (upside down).

A light tow line was rigged and Spirit of Vodacom towed the hobie back to port. The wind was strong and the hobie’s rigging and sail was still attached, making the going slow. Spirit of Vodacom proceeded back to base at 2.5knots. On arrival back at the V&A waterfront at 23:05, the upturned hobie was put alongside Jetty 2 in front of the Table Bay hotel.

- NSRI

Hantavirus warning to 1,700 Yosemite campers

Yosemite National Park is warning 1,700 visitors who stayed in some of its tent cabins this summer that they may have been exposed to a deadly virus.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome has been blamed for the deaths of two campers who stayed at the Californian park.

The disease can be carried in the urine, saliva and faeces of infected deer mice, and symptoms can appear as late as six weeks after exposure.

Two other infected campers were expected to survive.

The first death was reported earlier this month, and one of the victims was identified as a 37-year-old man from the San Francisco Bay area.
Fever and dizziness

There is no specific treatment for the hantavirus, which has a fatality rate of 30%.

The National Park Service, which runs Yosemite, extended the warning to visitors who stayed in the 408 canvas and wood cabins in Curry Village from mid-June onward.

They have been advised to be watch out for the symptoms of hantavirus, which include fever, aches, dizziness and chills.

"We are encouraging anyone who stayed in Curry Village since June to be aware of the symptoms of hantavirus and seek medical attention at the first sign of illness," a statement said.

Officials said they were working with contractors to clean and inspect the cabins.

"This is a serious public health issue and we want to be transparent, but at the same time we don't want people to alter their plans because we are taking the necessary precautions," said park spokesman Scott Gediman.

The park has seen two other cases of the hantavirus in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, but this year's deaths were the first.

- BBC

Arctic Sea Ice Drops below 2007 Record



On August 26, 2012, the extent of Arctic water covered by sea ice fell below 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles), the record minimum set in 2007. Arctic sea ice stood at 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles), the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA reported on August 27.

This image was made from observations collected by the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) on the satellites of the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Sea ice appears in shades of white and light blue, with white indicating the greatest concentrations of ice. Open ocean water is blue, and land is gray. The yellow outline shows the median minimum ice extent for 1979-2000—in other words, areas that were at least 15 percent ice-covered in at least half the years between 1979 and 2000—on August 26.
In April 2012, Arctic sea ice reached a near-average extent, but periods of intense ice loss in June and August 2012 helped push Arctic sea ice below the previous record from 2007. In 2007, high pressure over the Beaufort Sea and low pressure over northeastern Eurasia pulled in warm winds, which melted the ice and pushed it away from the Siberian and Alaskan coastlines. Although these pressure patterns also occurred in 2012, they were much less persistent. Nonetheless sea ice melt rates still reached up to 150,000 square kilometers (57,900 square miles) per day in 2012, more that twice the long-term rate.

By early July, Arctic sea ice melting was three weeks ahead of schedule, but then slowed somewhat. Ice loss rates picked up again in early August, “probably the highest in the record for that period,” according to NSIDC staff scientist Walt Meier. Because the old record has been passed in August 2012—and Arctic sea ice generally reaches its lowest annual extent in September—it is likely that the amount of ice cover may continue to shrink. NSIDC provides an overview of melt rates in its Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog.
Arctic sea ice reached previous record lows in 2002, 2005, and 2007. (The 2007 record low was previously recorded as 4.13 million square kilometers, or 1.59 million square miles. Slightly different processing and quality-control procedures used by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center led to revised estimates of sea ice extent.) Over the past decade, sea ice extent in the Arctic has been well below the 1979–2000 average.

The loss of so much sea ice means that when ice reforms over the winter, it is “first-year ice,” which is much thinner than sea ice that has persisted over multiple years. Joey Comiso, senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, explained that the loss of this multiyear ice contributed to record low ice extent in 2012. Another possible factor at work in the summer of 2012, Comiso suggested, may have been a strong summer cyclone, which broke up ice in the Central Arctic and dispersed it into warmer waters.
NSIDC director Mark Serreze differed with Comiso somewhat on the role of the storm. “The ice was already so thin it was ready to go,” said Serreze. “2012 likely would have set a new record without the storm.”

Once sea ice loss gets underway, it can become a self-reinforcing process. Because there is less light-colored ice to reflect the Sun’s energy back into space, more energy is absorbed by darker ocean water.
A new record for sea ice was not the only unusual event in the Arctic in the summer of 2012. July 2012 saw widespread melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the calving of a new iceberg from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. By early August, rapid sea ice retreat left the Northwest Passage nearly open, although ice moved back into parts of the passage later in the month.

The new record low for sea ice in 2012 fits into a larger pattern of a changing Arctic. Regarding the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice, Serreze remarks, “What is perhaps most surprising is that we are no longer surprised.”
  1. References

  2. NSIDC. (2012, August 27) Arctic sea ice breaks lowest extent on record. Accessed August 27, 2012.
  3. NSIDC. (2012, August 27) Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis. Accessed August 27, 2012.
  4. NSIDC. (2012, May 21) State of the Cryosphere: Sea Ice. Accessed August 27, 2012.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Caption by Michon Scott.
Instrument: 
DMSP - SSM/I -  NASA