Day 52 – It’s coming

The [excrement] is about to strike the [ventilation device].

I’ve mentioned here and here that things aren’t going very well as far as the coronavirus situation in South Africa is concerned.

But we’re now getting to the point where the calm before the storm has been fully exhausted and we’re at the start of the rough ride. We may unknowingly already be there: the data we (as the public) are seeing are probably a week out of date.

In parts of the Western Cape (and a few other select locations) the infection rate is completely out of control and my inside informants are informing me that testing isn’t being done quickly enough and that hospitals are filling up fast.

This is when the storm hits. So far, the health systems, though often creaky and held together with duct tape and goodwill, have managed to cope with the demand. That will soon end now, with both Covid-19 patients and routine medical emergencies unable to be treated as hospitals and healthcare facilities simply run out of capacity. The inevitable result is, sadly, more deaths.

And yet, people are still exercising here every morning without wearing masks, they’re going around to friends’ houses, sharing alcohol and generally ignoring all the rules. The fact that there’s a curfew even came as a surprise to one lady on the local whatsapp group this morning.

Incredible.

Like they’re magically immune or something. People just don’t understand.
People are going to understand quite soon, though.

An example: one (educated) individual I follow on social media said that she thinks she “has a cold or flu coming on”.
The next thing she shares is a photo of her out and about walking (completely legally), but…

Just no. If you are sick – stay home. Simple as.

Sure, your mask might limit the spread of the virus and (in all honesty) the chances of infecting people out in the open air are fairly small anyway. But why not simply reduce that possibility to zero by just staying in bed?

Maybe it is just a cold. But how did you pick up that cold virus if you have been taking sensible, anti-coronavirus precautions? Because what protects you against Covid-19 will also work against the common cold.

So if you have managed to pick up a cold (and sure, we all hope that’s all it is), there’s a warning right there, that you’re not doing enough handwashing and social distancing.

I was described yesterday as “a ray of sunshine”. I think (ok, I know) they were being sarcastic, and I really don’t want to get a reputation for being a misery and sharing bad news on here, but I’m still astounded that people aren’t taking this situation seriously.

That’s going to change real soon.

 

UPDATE: as if by magic, via twitter, here’s the perfect example:

That’s the [flipping] President in the light blue cap and there are some (oddly) sycophantic citizens passing him on his walk this morning. You will see numerous incursions into personal space, a complete lack of social distancing, and a cellphone being passed from hand to hand.

Like that’s in any way ok.

Wow.

Don’t joke

Don’t joke about crazy journeys.

I once did that once (it was yesterday) and it almost backfired.

But I don’t have editing time right now: I’ll get to that should I survive my flight back into severely stormy Cape Town this evening.
It could be a crazy journey.
But it would take a bit to beat this one…

Now I don’t believe in tempting fate and all that nonsense, but if I were to believe in it, I’d consider that those lines above would be a really good way of doing it.

The descent into Cape Town last night was distinctly unpretty. In fact, it was a horror show. Bumpy, shaky, loud: wholly unpleasant. There were regular gasps and screams from the length of the cabin as we were chucked around over the Winelands. A member of the cabin crew was knocked clean off her feet. Another was throwing up near the back of the plane. The elderly Muslim gentleman sitting next to me grabbed my arm out of sheer terror. Twice.

Now, I have complete faith in the tolerances and the engineering that go into building passenger aircraft, and also in the tensile strength of the materials involved, but even I had to continually remind myself of these things as we bounced our way down into the Mother City.

When we did make it down onto the runway, it was with a big bang. And when we finally made it to a full stop, my neighbour gently whispered “Thank Allah” under his breath, which I thought was a little unkind given the best efforts of the well-trained pilots. But then I vaguely recalled that the First Officer had introduced himself as Allah van Zyl prior to departure, so I guess that’s maybe what he was thinking.

Even when we were sitting safely on the tarmac awaiting the stairs to take us out into the cold evening, the plane was still bumping around, being buffeted by the wind which was gusting to 100kph.

The dash to the terminal was fun, with horizontal rain, lost hats, mild swearing and relieved laughter filling the air.

Nastiest 15 minutes of my flying life? Probably. I really didn’t enjoy it.

Props (no pun intended) then to Captain Jesus Schoeman* and Big A the First Officer for getting us down safely.

I have no air travel planned for the foreseeable future.

 

* possibly a made-up name.

Your Wednesday Thursday storm briefing

(Following on from your Monday Thursday storm warning and your Tuesday Thursday storm update.)

Hello, Thursday Storm fans (I’m looking at you, UtianG).
Another day, another lot of isobars.

It’s still coming; it’s still fairly large: there’s been no further relief on the pressure side of things since yesterday’s post. It has been slightly delayed by the traffic from the stop/go system for the roadworks near Tristan da Cunha, and thus we should only expect the worst of the rain late morning tomorrow.

Looking out of my lab window at the cloudless , windless Cape skies this morning, it’s hard to believe that we’re all going to die horribly there’s a cold front just 24 hours away. It’s all so calm and peaceful. And dry.

Here’s the latest synoptic chart, and while we’re all looking at what’s approaching the Western Cape tomorrow, it would be foolish to ignore that second low pressure area behind it which is making its way eastwards across the South Atlantic. At the moment, it looks like that’s going to hit the Cape overnight on Sunday and into Monday, ruining what was already going to be a pretty crappy morning for us all anyway. It’s not going to be as big as tomorrow’s excitement, but it’s a long way off and it does have the potential to change track and give us a proper battering.

But let’s get through tomorrow first, with Windguru predicting almost 40mm of rain over 24 hours for the Mother City, followed by an entirely dark, damp and dreary Friday.

Stay safe, drink red wine, toast a beagle on your log fire and do a crossword. Look after those who don’t have your luxuries: you can donate a bed for 5 nights at The Haven Night Shelter for just R60 without even leaving your chair. Click here and do your bit. I have. Or use Snapscan:

And please share this post (use the buttons below) and get others to do their bit as well.

And then come back for tomorrow’s post entitled:

Damp Squib: What Was All The Fuss About?

or:

Sweet Baby Jesus. We Are Actually All Going To Die!

depending on the prevailing meteorological conditions.

Thursday storm update

Windguru is still shouting about TONNES of rain and 80kph gusts of northwesterly air in Cape Town on Thursday morning, but a quick look at the synoptic charts for the South Atlantic actually indicate that things have calmed down just a little out there [points westsouthwest].

Now, I’m not doubting Windguru. It is, after all, the self-proclaimed guru on these sort of things. But there’s no doubt that the centre of that low pressure area is more diffuse and not as deep as it was yesterday.

If I was a betting man (I’m not), I’d be wondering about whether (no pun intended) this one is not going to pass a little further south than the original forecasts originally forecasted. That would mean that we’d just catch the tail end of the cold front, and that it might not be quite as bad as we were expecting.

I am going to add a couple of provisos here though: firstly, I’m not a professional weather forecaster. Some would say I’m not professional at all, and there are times when I’d find it difficult to argue with them. Secondly, “not quite as bad as we were expecting” is relative, as we were actually expecting it to be really, really bad. So even if I’m right, it might still be really bad.

Of course, the closer the actual event, the more accurate the forecast can be. And that’s why we’ll be having another look at this tomorrow. Follow on Facebook here and don’t miss this (possibly) incisive commentary on the approach of (possibly) the biggest storm of the year.

Still smiling

This won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see.

Far from it.

Many (if not all) of the photos that I post on here won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve been trying to take a shot of some lightning for ages. Yesterday evening, it finally happened and I’m still smiling.

Look, this isn’t my life’s mission; it’s not like I go around hunting storms in order to take photos, and I’m not going to immediately retire from my non-existent photography career just because I took it [audience groans].
But after 236 attempts last night alone, I finally got lucky and got this:

Treat yourself to it bigger on black for the full effect.

Having given up round the back of the house (because this), I was actually just about ready to give up around the front as well as the storm moved off to the south. But I persisted, lying under a convenient shrub to avoid the worst of the rain. And when I realised that one of the closer bolts of lightning had (for once) coincided with one of my exposures and actually in the right direction, I was over the moon.

There are better photos of lightning. Maybe even better photos of lightning taken last night. But I didn’t take them.

I took this one though, and I’m still smiling.