Cape Storm and Knysna fires
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
The good news is that the Cape Storm broke thru the South Atlantic High which has been diverting our 'normal' winter rain south to the ocean. We have water flowing into Cape Town's dams. Up 1.6% since last week to 21.2%. The bad news was high winds, 12 metre swells along the coast. For the first time we had a 'snow' day - schools and universities were closed. People were encouraged to stay at home and keep off the roads (unless you are emergency services). As I tried to follow the breaking news, I had to avoid the fake news about our weather. Strangely enough, the truth wasn't awful enough for people!
The very bad news is those high winds became berg wind (hot coming down from the mountains) with terrible fires in Knysna. Evacuations. Bradley Richards a 20 year old trained volunteer fireman lost his life to 70% burns. A young family died when the fire trapped them as they were leaving their home. 7 lives lost. Many homes destroyed. As they began to get the Knysna fire under control, a second huge fire began near Port Elizabeth.
PS News followup after the fire.
Five factors that produced the perfect inferno Drought - leaf litter - compost - spontaneous combustion. Afro-montane and milkwood forests retard the fire. Wind gusts over 110 km/h fan the fire to over 2000C (not a typo!). When a Thermal Wave descends on a structure like a house, it forces the roof down with immense pressure while the extreme heat melts glass and disintegrates bricks.
The biggest disaster in South African history Our first objective when the fires started was evacuation.
In the calm before the storm, last Saturday we went birding with the Church in Creation at the sewage works (False Bay Ecology Park) Near the landfill which attracts pelicans sadly, although each day's garbage is promptly covered with builder's rubble. The original vlei has been extended to many pans - previously used as settling ponds. Now the waste water is processed in digester tanks and the wetlands provide important habitat for local and migratory birds. With hippo and eland at neighbouring Rondevlei.
Along the shore of Zeekoevlei the picnic and birding sites have composting loos, which we used at Kogelberg and Rocher Pan. Not what I expected to see in the city, but a good idea here.
Counting June as my eighth blogaversary, since I began with a Black Stork in our Porterville garden in 2009. About my blogging in 2017. I changed to the Soho Theme in April. I have learnt to compress images with Faststone - which loads quicker with better quality. I have a new camera (Canon G9 Powershot X).
I am still using Blogger, StatCounter and ClustrMap to see readers of my blog, Feedly to read your blogs (Picasa for collages)
Fresh header IS our False Bay beach where we walk on a sunny winter day.
I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
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Thanks for comments that add value. Maybe start a new thread of discussion? BTW your comment won't appear until I've read it. No Google account? Just use Anonymous, but do leave a link to your own blog. I would return the visit, if I could ...
I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months
I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months
Danke für sinnvolle Kommentare. Die werden erst veröffentlicht nachdem ich sie gelesen habe. Es können auch Bemerkungen sein die in eine ganz andere Richtung gehen.
Congratulations on your eighth blogaversary! I had my seventh blogaversary last weekend. Time flies! I also use Picasa but am searching for an alternative to use on my new computer. Have you ever tried photoscape?ReplyDelete
Haven't come across photoscape. I do sometimes use PicMonkey. And Faststone.Delete
Your beach is beautiful Diana; do you go walking there often? From your images even the landfill doesn't look too awful, the ones here are horrible. The fires are terrifying; it must be so frightening to be close to one. Stupid people throw cigarette butts from their car windows into the verges where the grass is just tinder! Often whole fields are destroyed by this crazy action but thankfully I haven't heard of any loss of life.ReplyDelete
We try to walk three times a week, but. Gratefully dodging rain showers, and walking on the kinder days.Delete
The landfill is fairly tidy. They are careful of leachate. But the wind and the eternal plastic! And it is HUGE, looks like a mine dump, a hill.
Well, I am relieved to see rain like I should in Cape Town this time of the year. Sadly, my brothers and sisters further up the coast have a different problem now. Happy Anniversary! I actually switched from Blogspot to WordPress and that allowed for the refresh in my blogging. It's become all that much more important for me as I am tired of fake news and rhetoric that scratches the surface of the problem and does not dive into what really is the truthReplyDelete
I tried, but I can't find your new blog via your G+ posts. A link please?Delete
I'm sorry that the rain was accompanied by serious weather-related problems and sorrier still that some people feel compelled to raise the anxiety level among their neighbors by promoting false impressions of the threat.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on you blog anniversary! The photos you've taken with your new camera are great and I like the new blog format/theme. I haven't even looked into making a change in my blog set-up - that's a project for another day.
Those blog changes ripple out. I need to go thru the older posts and sort out the formatting conflicts, erratic font sizes offend my eye.Delete
Love your new header. Congratulations on your eighth blogaversary! I guess that's how long we've been blog-friends. The weather here is crazy, too. We are experiencing a heatwave which is unheard of in June ... as if gardening wasn't hard enough. BTW -- I would love a composting loo in my garden. My friends have one, but they own a garden center and need it for their customers. P. xReplyDelete
A Canadian gardener on G+ has been hit with inches of hail. In June!Delete
Is it a rural garden center? What a gracious earth-friendly solution,
Yes, it is VERY rural. My favorite garden center, actually.Delete
Mabrouk on your anniversary. I always learn something on your blog. I didn't know that a fireman lost his life in the fires of Knysna although I am extremely sad about it.ReplyDelete
I'd read somewhere that the young family who lost their lives had ben celebrating the little boy's birthday that day! How sad is that?
Thanks for sharing your take on the storm.
Another layer of sadness - she was 8 months pregnant - so it was truly a family of four.Delete
A second firefighter is recovering in hospital from 50% burns. Heroes.
New theme looks fantastic, loved the black stork, have no recollection of having been introduced to one before. Shame about the bad news which the world seems to be engulfed in, cant get that London towering inferno out of my mind.ReplyDelete
It has been running on our TV all day.Delete
Glad you have had some decent rain but sad about those fires. My goodness eight years blogging, I've a way to go to catch up :). Love the look of your new set up. B xReplyDelete
Eight years feels like another generation, blogging has changed and we must change with it.Delete
I like the new design! Sorry to hear about the fires--that is awful! You have the best of several worlds, don't you? -- with the sea, mountains, rivers, and wildflower sanctuaries nearby. Plus, your climate seems comfortable year-round. :)ReplyDelete
I love our walking choices - mountain or beach, flowers or National Park. Summer wind or winter storm, we always have blue sky sunny days in between.Delete
Learning to adjust to the new normal, as I listen for the washing machine to rumble - more rain water.
I'm glad to read your dams are filling up, but sorry about the fires, we are well used to this combination in Australia, drought, fire, floods. I hope the weather settles for everyone.ReplyDelete
Your photos look lovely, I have a PowerShot Canon too, it is very good value. Congratulations on 8 years of blogging, I enjoy you blog and those of people living in other parts of the world.
I fervently hope we get steady soft soaking rain. Wary of downpours and mudslides from all our terribly burnt mountains.Delete
It seems that mother nature is feeling out of sorts. But you do live in a gorgeous place, I always enjoy your photos.ReplyDelete
I deeply sympathise with mother nature.Delete
Fires are so frightening and awful. As Gerrie said, it's familiar problem here too. Good the dams are filling up. What a beautiful part of the world you live in, Diana. Congrats for blogaversary.ReplyDelete
Happy you got some rain, very sad the loss of life in fires--we have that here as well, the hot dry winds that bring terrible wildfires.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on eight years of blogging. It has changed, hasn't it? It feels like all activity is being swallowed up by facebook, less garden blogs staying active.
I have been sucked into a watershedding group on FB. I am trying to change my focus to keep up with the blog posts waiting patiently in Feedly.Delete
Love to come here and still learn about blogging and your little patch of earth so far away from mine. How strange there is even 'fake news' with weather....bad weather and extreme storms all over now. Here we are in a very wet spring and much cooler than normal. Oh and congrats on 8 yrs.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your Blog Anniversary, eight years is quite an achievement! It must have been such a relief to have some rain. It must have been amazing to have snow in South Africa - I have just been searched for pictures of it on the internet. The weather seems very strange, we seem to experience more high winds that we used to have. There have been dreadful fires in Portugal too.ReplyDelete
The view towards the landfill tip looks lovely from a distance!. Sarah x
In the South Western Cape snow is a garnish on the mountain peaks, but around Lesotho the Sani Pass is often closed by snow.Delete
I experienced wildfires created by hot downslope winds when I lived in southern California many years ago. Very scary. Good to hear that you got some rain.ReplyDelete