Stage 4 and up in Cape Town – what does it look like?

Much alarm, but no real surprise, as the message came through that we can expect Stage 6 (six) loadshedding this evening.

Loadshedding – or rolling blackouts – is the process by which the country cuts off power to different areas at different times because there isn’t enough electricity to go around. The alternative would be not cutting areas off and literally overloading the grid, leading to uncontrolled blackouts and general Armageddon. You can’t just switch the grid back on after an uncontrolled blackout. We could be down for days or weeks.
Oh, and each stage represents 1000MW that we’re short of what we require. So to be missing 6000MW is quite something.

It’s not a good scenario.

In Cape Town’s 23 loadshedding areas, each loadshedding period lasts for 2 hours, plus an additional half hour during which the power is restored. You might get one loadshedding block per area in a Stage 1 or 2 day, and up to three blocks per area in a Stage 3 or 4 day. But once you get beyond that, it gets a bit different.

So what does life in Cape Town beyond Stage 4 look like?

Yes, it’s complicated, but there are plenty of timetables readily available. If you have electricity to be able to access them, of course. It pays to be prepared.

And it pays to cut your electricity usage when you have it. If we were all to do that, we might be able to reduce demand. But even then, it’s all very much out of our hands.

Fugly situation.

Next cold front coming

More “Damaging winds” and “Disruptive rain” are expect today and this evening. The wind is already here, and while it hasn’t done any damage yet (that I know about, at least), you can see how it might, because it is quite strong and gusty. And those are two of the main attributes of wind that can cause damage. On the plus side, we did get a beautiful pre-frontal sunrise this morning, which my phone did its best to capture:

But didn’t really do it justice.

This cold front is not going to be as big as the last one, which – for the record – deposited a total of 154mm of rain into our back garden. That’s a lot, given that our annual rainfall here is 1150mm.
It also raised the Cape Town dam levels by a very welcome 5%. I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and that means that over the past few days, the net inflow into the dams comes in at 44,911,050,000 litres or 45 billion litres, give or take.

Your occasional reminder that a small percentage of a very big number is still a very big number.

According to my best sources, the rain will begin at about 8pm, peak around dawn tomorrow (poor Dawn), and continue on and off for most of Saturday, ruining any local rugby matches that you couldn’t buy tickets for anyway. Sunday, on the other hand, looks like it will be full of equal amounts of sunshine and freezing temperatures.

Have a lovely weekend.

Early days, but…

A bit of a heads up: the weather from Sunday evening in and around Cape Town is looking decidedly wintery.

Properly nasty stuff, and a far cry from today’s balmy bergwind-assisted 28C.

I’ve stocked up with half a ton of fire and braai wood, not just because we might want to pollute the atmosphere keep warm next week, but also so that the skink in the woodpile has a bit more shelter when the storm does hit. Got to think of the nature, right?

This one (the storm, not the skink) seems not just to be the biggest one of the year so far, but will also feature a series of cold fronts one after the other, prompting worries that any damage early on could be compounded and exacerbated by the following few days.

It’s still all at least five days away though, so nothing is set in stone just yet. But it might be worth clearing out your gutters and sheltering your skink just so you’re all prepared.

This morning’s walk

Still getting out and getting exercise when I can in the autumn sunshine ahead of the frankly terrifying weather forecast this weekend.

The calf is improving, but walking feels much better than running at the moment. And yes, Cape Town has provided some amazing backdrops over the last few days, both in the morning and the evening.

This one is a quick and dirty unedited phone shot from this morning’s 4km wander around Bishopscourt and Claremont. Just because… well… just look at it.

Busy one

Today was a very busy day, so perhaps last night wasn’t the best time to drink copious amounts of very nice red wine. But then, is there actually ever a bad time to do that? Yesterday evening’s choice was a 2015 Proprietor’s Blend from Ormond in Darling. It was very, very good.

My head this morning was less good though, and I had to get the Boy Wonder up to Milnerton to play a SportsBall. This I did, but rather than sensibly dozing off in the car park for three hours, I decided to brave the traffic out to the west coast and wander along Bloubergstrand for a few kilometers. You might not know Bloubergstrand if you’re not from around these parts, but it’s the one with this view:

…of Cape Town and Table Mountain, the latter of which was – as you can see – covered by a fluffy cloud and the former of which was blanketed in some nice, thick pollution.

The photos I took also reminded me that I need to clean my lenses and camera.
Filthy splodges everywhere. Eww.

Back home for a super quick lunch, (the “super” describing the speed, rather than any sort of culinary or gastronomic quality) and then off to the local Scout Hall to help clear out gutters and cut down branches before the winter storms hit.

I walked hard and then worked hard today. I am now officially knackered.

Let’s sit back and see what’s in the red wine cupboard for this evening…