Will this be the coldest day of the year in Cape Town?
I’m guessing (and hoping) so. We’re only just scraping into the dizzy realms of double figures. And that drops off sharply with every squall that comes through. And while 10ºC might be balmy for a lot of other places in the real world, we don’t have double glazing or central heating or (in quite a lot of rooms) carpets.
You’d be surprised just how much of a difference that makes.
Of course, we’re not set up for these chilly conditions simply for the reason that they really don’t happen very often down here. But they are happening today and we’re hiding inside under blankets, cuddling hot-sacks and nursing hot drinks. Even the beagle is hiding in its basket, covered with blankets (and we got the model that comes pre-equipped with fur and everything).
One thing we do have is a log fire. Definitely the best thing we ever put into this house. Especially today. I’m really not sure how we’d manage with the old gas heater that was in here and cost hundreds of Rands to briefly suggest warmth to an area about 30cm in front of it. Now I chuck huge lumps of invasive vegetation into a mini furnace and prevent widespread family hypothermia.
Of course, we’re very lucky to be able to have a roof over our heads and a fire to fling logs at.
If you want to help support those who don’t have such luxuries, please consider a donation to The Haven night shelter, where as little as R60 ($3.56, £2.81) can give someone a bed for 5 nights.
This goes out to @StephanieBe who is heading out to the UK shortly and read this morning that… er… the UK is about to face its coldest winter for 100 years. Stephanie is Saffa born and bred. Her genes aren’t cut out to cope with cold Decembers.
Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century. The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods. Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3C in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.
Cold temperatures? In the UK? At the end of November? Whatever next? Let’s have a look at how November ended when I was over in the UK in 2010, shall we?
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 29th November 2010. Is that… snow?!?
But hey, maybe the Daily Mail has upped its weather prediction game since 2010. Let’s have a look at what they thought about 2012, shall we? This Daily Mail headline is from 15th April this year.
Britain faces worst drought since 1976 (and the Severn could dry up by summer)
Officials are concerned that a third dry winter this year could be a tipping point and trigger restrictions for businesses or even further restrictions in homes for the first time in 36 years. The restrictions are embarrassing for the Government which is showcasing Britain during this year’s Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. Parks are included in the hosepipe ban and London’s iconic fountains will be turned off.
Sounds bad. So what actually happened?
Well, here’s a photo I took at Howden Reservoir in Derbyshire in July, slap bang in the middle of the “worst drought since 1976”:
Yes yes, I know that the big wall is supposed to keep the water in, but the fact is that because the incessant rain throughout the summer, the dam was overflowing.
What happened? Let’s turn to… er… the Daily Mail for the answer. Here’s a story from August 29th:
After weeks of wet weather and seemingly never-ending cloud, many have dismissed the last few months as a miserable summer they would rather forget. Today was no exception as heavy rains fell across many parts of the country as weather forecasters predict that September will bring some sun and reprieve from the wet weather but only for those in the south. The north of Britain however should brace for more grim weather which is predicted to last until mid-September.
But… but you said that… Oh never mind. At least it wasn’t the wettest summ… oh wait. Yes, it was. Well, that is according to the Daily Mail (31st August) anyway:
The temperatures, which reflect the country’s cold and soggy weather over recent months, have proved this summer has been a complete write-off. It came as it was revealed yesterday the summer has also been the wettest in England and Wales for a century.
The thing is, I know that forecasting the weather is not an exact science. And long range forecasting is even less exact. So yes, you’re going to get it wrong from time to time. But there’s no disclaimer in Stephanie’s “coldest winter for 100 years” Daily Mail story. There’s no:
However, while we’re telling you about how cold it’s going to be this winter, you might want to remember that we also said that this was going to be the driest summer in almost 40 years and we couldn’t actually have been more wrong about that.
So people like Stephanie who have previously lived a Daily Mail free life (lucky fish) thus far, read it – and believe it. Oops.
Stephanie, I’m no meteorological expert. I can’t tell you if it’s going to be the coldest winter foreverever when you visit the Republic of South Yorkshire this December. I feel that I’m standing on fairly solid ground when I suggest that you probably won’t need to pack your bikini for a day out on the beachfront at Filey, but that aside, it’s winter and I would expect it to be decidedly chilly. Especially when compared with your usual South African December day.
What I can tell you is that you really shouldn’t believe everything anything you read in the Daily Mail.