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01 January 2012

New SAWDOS Blog now available.....from the old to the new. Yes we have moved!


This will be the final posting on the old SAWDIS Blog.  We now have a new name (SAWDOS) and new blog ( address.

All future updates will be posted at

This blog will no longer be updated but will remain available for research and historical purposes.

Please note:

1. If you a subscriber you will have to subscribe to the new blog to receive the latest updates.
2. You will have to change your bookmark.
3. Please remember to redirect any links to the new address.


SA National Severe Weather Warning: 1 January 2011 16h00 SAST

Current warning: Eastern Cape
Updated: 01/01/2012 15:36:30
Watch: Be prepared
Subject: Very Rough Seas
Detail: Valid 02/01/2012: ----------------- WATCHES: -------- 1. Very rough seas with wave heights in excess of 4m are expected between Cape Point and Port Alfred on Monday. ADVISORY: -------- 1. Heavy swell with wave heights exceeding 4m is expected between Cape Columbine and Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Current warning: Western Cape
Updated: 01/01/2012 15:36:30
Watch: Be prepared
Subject: Very Rough Seas
Detail: Valid for 02/01/2012: --------------------- WATCHES: -------- 1. Very rough seas with wave heights in excess of 4m are expected between Cape Point and Port Alfred on Monday. ADVISORY: -------- 1. Heavy swell with wave heights exceeding 4m is expected between Cape Columbine and Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Current warning: All other remaining Provinces
Updated: 01/01/2012 04:49:13
No warnings nor advisories in effect
Subject: No Alerts
Detail: No Alerts


SA Weather Satellite Image: 1 January 2012 (16h00 SAST)

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

Deadly storm hits KwaZulu-Natal

Durban - Two people have died and three are missing after a heavy storm in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal over New Year's Eve, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs said on Sunday.

"One person was struck by lightning and another died as a result of flooding," said departmental spokesperson Lennox Mabaso.

He said a freak thunderstorm accompanied by strong winds had torn through the towns of uMsinga and uMvoti.

Search and rescue teams were continuing to look for the three missing people on Sunday.

The area has been devastated by flooding and damage to homes and other infrastructure.


Storms rig groot skade aan in Kwazulu Natal (31 Desember 2011)

Twee mense is dood en drie word vermis na gisternag se storms in die Middelland van KwaZulu-Natal. Reddingspanne het vanoggend lank gesukkel om by die gebiede wat geraak is, uit te kom. Verspoelde paaie het hul taak bemoeilik. 'n Noodhelikopter is ook gestuur om beseerdes op te pik en na hospitale te vervoer. Talle blyplekke in Moorivier, Umsinga, Muden en Umvoti is erg beskadig. Paaie word sedert vanoggend opgeruim om toegang tot die gebiede te kry.

- RSG Nuus

New Year firecrackers injure nearly 500 Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines — Despite a government scare campaign, firecrackers and gunfire injured nearly 500 people in the Philippines as revelers welcomed the new year in one of the world's most raucous and dangerous celebrations.

About a dozen plane flights, including two from the United States, were diverted or canceled early Sunday after dark smog caused by a night of firecracker explosions obscured visibility at Manila's airport, officials said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the number of injuries — 454 from firecracker blasts and 18 from stray bullets — was slightly lower than last year but remained alarming.

Injured revelers, including many children, filled hospital emergency rooms in the capital shortly after midnight. Adding to the chaos, two gangs clashed in front of Manila's main government hospital attending to the injured, leaving one man dead from a gunshot wound.

Firecrackers ignited at least three fires that destroyed several houses in the capital area.
"Again, it seems our appeal to mothers to keep their children away from firecrackers wasn't effective," Ona told a news conference.

All of the fingers on farmer Alvin Barroga's right hand were injured by a firecracker that exploded prematurely in northern Isabela province. He writhed in pain as a doctor treated his wounds in a hospital.

"I'll think thrice before lighting one again," he said.

Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding huge firecrackers and firing guns to welcome the new year despite threats of arrest.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said at least 65 people were arrested for using illegally large firecrackers.

Ona said he was willing to consider a proposal for a total ban on firecrackers but that it needed to be studied. Robredo said minors should be prohibited from exploding firecrackers and penalties for using illegal ones, usually a fine or up to a year in prison, should be increased.
Dozens of hospitals nationwide went on full alert before midnight, their emergency rooms staffed with trauma doctors as if preparing for civil strife. Many people spent the night in hotels for added safety.

Health officials attempted to discourage dangerous celebrations by showing gory pictures of injuries, including hands mangled by firecracker blasts, and the national police chief threatened his men with dismissal if they fired their guns in revelry, but the violent tradition has continued.

- AP

100 homeless after Du Noon fire

The New Year has started on a disastrous note for close to 100 Capetonians, who lost their homes in a wildfire at the Du Noon Informal Settlement, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Officials say at least 40 structures were destroyed.

Disaster management services spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says, “Over 100 people are displaced. Disaster management officials were on the scene on Saturday night."

Disaster management is currently at the scene assisting the fire victims.


SAWDIS Holiday Alert 2011/2012

Cape Town prepares for Beach Day

Cape Town metro police will be inspecting some of the Cape Peninsula's most popular beaches on New Year's Day.

Metro Chief Wayne le Roux will accompany his officers as they clamp down on the use of alcohol at bathing spots.

Metro police officers plan to inspect several beaches including Monwabisi Beach in Khayelitsha and the ever popular Camps Bay.

So far, they have confiscated over 2000 bottles of alcohol at beaches this festive season and they have also dished out about 250 fines.

Capetonians are expected to flock to the city’s beaches later.

Metro police’s Nowellyn Petersen has warned revellers they will be out in full force.


Capetonians flock to public pools

More than 1,000 Capetonians have been waiting since the early hours of Sunday morning to cool off at Sea Point Public Swimming Pools.

Cape Town Metro Police Chief Wayne le Roux has paid the bathing spot a visit.

Although not a typically scotching summer’s day, holidaymakers have come out in their numbers.

Dozens of orange umbrellas dot the grounds as Sea Point Swimming Pools, but many more bathers are still waiting to enter the main gate.

One Joburger says he has been queuing for more than an hour and 30 minutes.

However, an elderly woman showing off her bathing suit says she did not have to wait a minute as pensioners are given preference.

Le Roux says so far no incidents have been reported and no one has been caught bringing alcohol into the bathing spot.


Man drowns in Strand

Disaster management officials are on high alert on New Year’s Day which is traditionally the busiest beach day in the Cape.

This after a man drowned while swimming in Melkbaai Beach in Strand.

Theo Visser was swimming with his friends when he got into trouble in the surf.

It is understood the group was swimming outside the bathing area past the breakers.

Meanwhile, disaster management’s Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says already about a 1,000 people are queuing outside the Sea Point swimming pool.

“At Sea Point swimming pool over 1,000 people have been outside the swimming pool since 5:30am. We appeal to residents to adhere to the law enforcement authorities.”


Busy day for Cape Town beaches

A man is lucky to be alive after almost drowning at Mnandi Beach near Mitchell’s Plain on Sunday.

Lifeguards rescued the 34-year-old earlier.

Paramedics say the man was swimming in an undesignated area when he got into trouble.

They treated the man on scene before rushing him to GF Jooste Hospital.

He is currently in a critical condition.

Meanwhile, volunteers from Missing Children SA have had a busy day searching for lost children.

Four children have been reported missing while two have been reunited with their families.

A week ago, 27 children were reported lost on this beach.


3 hurt in crash caused by fireworks

Bloemfontein - Three people were injured when a bakkie hit a lamppost after a passenger was struck by fireworks from the roadside in Bloemfontein, paramedics said on Sunday.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks said the bakkie was going down Pellissier Road when it passed a group of New Year's revellers on the side of the road just before midnight on Saturday.

Apparently the revellers ignited fireworks which struck one of the two passengers on the back of the bakkie. This caused the driver to lose control and hit the lamp post.

The driver was seriously injured as was the front-seat passenger, who received treatment for lacerations. The person struck by the fireworks was treated for minor burns.

Wicks said the injured were transported to hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile sixteen people were injured when a minibus overturned near Margate. Eight people were seriously injured.

In Pretoria, five people were seriously injured when two cars collided on Hans Strydom drive and Disselboom road.

In a separate accident, a man was killed and another critically injured when their car rolled on Rietspruit road in Kosmosdal.

- SAPA/News24

7.0 earthquake hits eastern Japan

TOKYO — A magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook eastern Japan on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Despite the magnitude, there was no danger of a tsunami, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos tweeted that he was "about to greet Emperor and Empress for New Year when Imperial Palace began to shake."

The mid-afternoon quake swayed buildings in Tokyo but it did not disrupt the final of the Emperor's Cup football tournament under way at the National Stadium, AFP, the French news agency, reported.

The Meteorological Agency says the offshore quake Sunday struck about 370 kilometers (230 miles) below the sea surface. The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Northeastern Japan was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing. Japan, which lies along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," is one of the world's most seismically active countries.


Magnitude 7.0 - IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION 2012 January 01 05:27:54 UTC

Image: Google Maps (Click for larger view.)

Earthquake Details
  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude7.0 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
  • Sunday, January 01, 2012 at 05:27:54 UTC
  • Sunday, January 01, 2012 at 02:27:54 PM at epicenter
Location31.400°N, 138.600°E
Depth371 km (230.5 miles) set by location program
  • 219 km (136 miles) SSW (211°) from Hachijo-jima, Izu Islands, Japan
  • 376 km (234 miles) SSE (167°) from Hamamatsu, Honshu, Japan
  • 399 km (248 miles) S (177°) from Shizuoka, Honshu, Japan
  • 486 km (302 miles) SSW (193°) from TOKYO, Japan
Location UncertaintyError estimate not available
ParametersNST= 11, Nph=0, Dmin=0 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp= 0,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=A
Event IDpt12001000

Tsunami Warning:
No tsunami warning issued after 7.0-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Japan

SA National Severe Weather Warning: 1 January 2011 04h00 SAST

Current warning: All provinces in South Africa
Updated: 01/01/2012 04:49:13
No warnings nor advisories in effect
Subject: No Alerts
Detail: No Alerts


SA Weather Satellite Image: 1 January 2012 (07h00 SAST)

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

GFS Medium Range Forecasts of Vertical Velocity and Precipitation: 1 - 2 January 2012

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

Man verdrink terwyl hy met vriende swem

Johannesburg – ‘n Man het verdrink terwyl hy saam met vriende by Melkbaai-strand in die Strand geswem het, het die ramp- en risikobestuur in Kaapstad gesê.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, ‘n woordvoerder, sê die man het Saterdag met vyf van sy vriende geswem toe hulle besef dat hulle te diep is.

Solomons-Johannes sê die vriende het besef die man is in die moeilikheid toe hulle na die vlakwater teruggekeer het.

Die man was bewusteloos toe lewensredders hom uit die water gehaal het.

Volgens Solomons-Johannes is mond-tot-mond-asemhaling toegepas, maar die man is op die toneel dood verklaar.

- SAPA/Nuus24

Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites

When NASA's Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around giant asteroid Vesta in July, scientists fully expected the probe to reveal some surprising sights. But no one expected a 13-mile high mountain, two and a half times higher than Mount Everest, to be one of them.

The existence of this towering peak could solve a longstanding mystery: How did so many pieces of Vesta end up right here on our own planet?

A side view of Vesta's great south polar mountain.

For many years, researchers have been collecting Vesta meteorites from "fall sites" around the world. The rocks' chemical fingerprints leave little doubt that they came from the giant asteroid. Earth has been peppered by so many fragments of Vesta, that people have actually witnessed fireballs caused by the meteoroids tearing through our atmosphere. Recent examples include falls near the African village of Bilanga Yanga in October 1999 and outside Millbillillie, Australia, in October 1960.

"Those meteorites just might be pieces of the basin excavated when Vesta's giant mountain formed," says Dawn PI Chris Russell of UCLA.

Russell believes the mountain was created by a 'big bad impact' with a smaller body; material displaced in the smashup rebounded and expanded upward to form a towering peak. The same tremendous collision that created the mountain might have hurled splinters of Vesta toward Earth.

"Some of the meteorites in our museums and labs," he says, "could be fragments of Vesta formed in the impact -- pieces of the same stuff the mountain itself is made of."

To confirm the theory, Dawn's science team will try to prove that Vesta's meteorites came from the mountain's vicinity. It's a "match game" involving both age and chemistry.

"Vesta formed at the dawn of the solar system," says Russell. "Billions of years of collisions with other space rocks have given it a densely cratered surface."

The surface around the mountain, however, is tellingly smooth. Russell believes the impact wiped out the entire history of cratering in the vicinity. By counting craters that have accumulated since then, researchers can estimate the age of the landscape.

"In this way we can figure out the approximate age of the mountain's surface. Using radioactive dating, we can also tell when the meteorites were 'liberated' from Vesta. A match between those dates would be compelling evidence of a meteorite-mountain connection."

For more proof, the scientists will compare the meteorites' chemical makeup to that of the mountain area.

"Vesta is intrinsically but subtly colorful. Dawn's sensors can detect slight color variations in Vesta's minerals, so we can map regions of chemicals and minerals that have emerged on the surface. Then we'll compare these colors to those of the meteorites."

Could an impact on Vesta really fill so many museum display cases on Earth? Stay tuned for answers..

Author: Dauna Coulter | Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

First Of NASA'S Two Grail Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Moon

The first of two NASA spacecraft to study the moon in unprecedented detail has entered lunar orbit. NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A spacecraft successfully completed its planned main engine burn at 2 p.m. PST (5 p.m. EST) today. As of 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST), GRAIL-A is in a 56-mile (90-kilometer) by 5,197-mile (8,363-kilometer) orbit around the moon that takes approximately 11.5 hours to complete.

"My resolution for the new year is to unlock lunar mysteries and understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved," said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "Now, with GRAIL-A successfully placed in orbit around the moon, we are one step closer to achieving that goal."

The next mission milestone occurs tomorrow when GRAIL-A's mirror twin, GRAIL-B, performs its own main engine burn to place it in lunar orbit. At 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST) today, GRAIL-B was 30,018 miles (48,309 kilometers) from the moon and closing at a rate of 896 mph (1,442 kph). GRAIL-B's insertion burn is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. PST (5:05 p.m. EST) and will last about 39 minutes.

"With GRAIL-A in lunar orbit we are halfway home," said David Lehman, GRAIL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "Tomorrow may be New Year's everywhere else, but it's another work day around the moon and here at JPL for the GRAIL team."

Once both spacecraft are confirmed in orbit and operating, science work will begin in March. The spacecraft will transmit radio signals precisely defining the distance between them as they orbit the moon in formation. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity caused by both visible features, such as mountains and craters, and masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, the distance between the two spacecraft will change slightly.

Scientists will translate this information into a high-resolution map of the moon's gravitational field. The data will allow scientists to understand what goes on below the lunar surface. This information will increase knowledge of how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today.

JPL manages the GRAIL mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. The GRAIL mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft.

For more information about GRAIL, visit:

- SpaceRef

Love and Joy for the New Year

(Click on image for larger view.)

In November and December 2011, professional and amateur astronomers reveled in observing a sun-grazing comet that dove close to the Sun and survived for a return flight back to the outer solar system. Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) enjoyed their own surreal view of the comet as it appeared on Earth’s horizon on the day of the solstice.

ISS Commander Dan Burbank captured a series of digital photographs of Comet Lovejoy on December 21, 2011, as it rose above Earth’s limb. The ISS was passing from eastern Australia southeast toward New Zealand, between 17:35:50 to 17:43:02 Universal Time (6:35 to 6:43 a.m. local time on December 22). Those still images were compiled into a time-lapse video that you can view here. In an interview with WDIV-TV, Burbank described the moment as “the most amazing thing I have ever seen in space.”

Note how the tail of the comet points away from the Sun even as the comet itself is moving in the same direction, away from our star. Every comet has two tails, one of ice and dust, the other of ions, or charged particles. The heat and pressure of sunlight sloughs off the ice and dust, pushing it away from the Sun. Likewise, the solar wind strips ions off of the comet surface, though not necessarily in the same direction as the tail of debris and ice. The ion tail is not visible in this image.

The comet, officially designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on November 27, 2011. It belongs to a group of comets known as the Kreutz sungrazers, which are thought to be pieces of a much larger comet that broke up centuries ago. The comets are termed sungrazers because their orbits take them quite near—and often into—the Sun.

Comet Lovejoy is remarkable for diving through the superheated solar corona (atmosphere) to within 120,000 kilometers of the Sun’s surface and surviving the encounter. The event was recorded by five NASA and European spacecraft.

In the ISS image above, you can also see green and yellow airglow paralleling the Earth’s horizon line (or limb) before it is overwhelmed by the light of the rising Sun. Airglow is the emission of light by atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere after they are excited by ultraviolet radiation. In the video, small intermittent flashes of white lightning discharges also are visible over Earth’s surface.

Astronaut photograph ISS030-E-015491 was acquired on December 22, 2011, with a Nikon digital camera, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 30 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Michael Carlowicz, NASA Earth Observatory, and Melissa Dawson and William L. Stefanov, Jacobs/ESCG at NASA-JSC at NASA-JSC.

ISS - Digital Camera - NASA

Ice Varieties along the Antarctic Coast

(Click on images for larger view.)

The end of December marks the end of spring and beginning of summer along the coast of East Antarctica. The Sun shines most (if not all) of the time, yet ice still dominates the land and sea. That ice, however, is far from uniform.

Varied forms of ice appear in these images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite and the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. These natural-color images both show parts of the Mawson Coast, where an Australian-led research station is located. The MODIS image (from December 16, 2011) offers a wide-area view and the ALI image (December 30) gives a close-up centered around the research station.

Along the ice-encrusted coastline floats a broad band of fast ice, which derives its name from the fact that it holds fast to the shore. This thick ice is lighter in color than the thinner sea ice farther offshore (visible in the wide-area view). The sea ice is dynamic, continually forming, melting, and drifting with winds and currents.

Near the shore, wet snow sits on the fast ice, and the water-saturated snow appears gray. Adjacent to that wet snow and on land lies a patch of blue ice, composed of large ice crystals. Wind in this region has eaten away the overlying snow layer to expose pure ice below. In contrast to tiny snow crystals, which appear white, large ice crystals absorb a small amount of red light, so greater amounts of green and blue reflect off the surface.

Descending warm winds evaporate snow cover and lead to strong surface melting on fast ice. As the Antarctic summer continues, the fast ice will break away from the coast and drift out to sea.

The close-up view also reveals some details of the coastline, including glaciers that calve icebergs at or near the coast, and isolated melt ponds on the surface of the blue ice.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott with information from Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center.


Important Notice: Restructuring of the SAWDIS

Major changes are currently underway as outlined in a previous article available HERE. and HERE.

It is the year 2012, a new year with new challenges and changes awaits us. The year 2011 is in the past and has become part of history. The SAWDIS has also become part of history. The SAWDIS Blog and Service was discontinued on the 31 December 2011 and will no longer be called the SA Weather and Disaster Information Service. Readers will also not be able to view weather and disaster events on this blog in future.

Here are the good and bad news:

1. This blog is no more the official blog of the SAWDIS. However this blog will still be updated for the next few days before it will be shut down permanently.

2. The SAWDIS do not officially exist any more. Yes, the SAWDIS has become part of history. The SAWDIS was started on the 8 October 2008 and ended on the 31 December 2011.

3. A new blog and service has been created as of the 1 January 2012. I am still working on the outlay and construction of the new blog and hope to move to the new location in the next few days.

4. The name of the SA Weather and Disaster Information Service (SAWDIS) officially changed to the SA Weather and Disaster Observation Service (SAWDOS) on the 1 January 2012.

5. The current Email, SMS and Twitter addresses will remain the same until further notice. Please keep on sending in weather and disaster observation reports via these addresses.

6. Many features and services will change in the next month. Some might not like the idea of change but unfortunately this is a reality and if we do not change we will either stagnate or will become irrelevant in today's constant changing world.

7. The old SAWDIS Blog will still be available for research and educational purposes and will not be removed from the Internet.

It has become necessary to once again make certain changes to the SAWDIS and the blog to stay in touch and in the foreground of weather and disaster related information. New proposed legislation and the time available to me makes it necessary to change the way the SAWDIS currently operates in order to stay relevant and up to date with the latest technology.

I trust that the changes will not be to disruptive to our readers and observers, but as explained before it has become necessary to restructure the SAWDIS. I am looking forward to a new weather and disaster service that will hopefully be more informative and technologically driven to provide a better service to our readers and observers.

As we progress I will point out changes and new features to the benefit of all our readers and observers.

Don't miss any of the changes and updates!!

31 December 2011

SAWDIS New year wishes!!

As 2011 draws to a close and the year 2012 begins for all of us around the world, I want to wish everybody a Prosperous and Happy New Year and say “A Big Thank You” to all of the SAWDIS partners worldwide.

Every year, I have the wonderful fortune to be able to work with some of the brightest, most dedicated, and most talented people in the world through my interaction with the SAWDIS around the world. Some of you I have known for many, many years, and some of you I have just recently had the pleasure to meet or interact with. You all continually help positively keep your local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the SAWDIS. Just take a quick moment to think back over the past 12 months at the successful implementations you have deployed for your community and what that means for them every day. It is extremely amazing! We’ve built the SAWDIS on being a non-commercial model to be proud of. For all that you do and for your continued participation, I offer you a sincere “Thank you,” and genuine wishes for an even better, more amazing 2012 together.

The New Year is a moment of quiet reflection. Reflect on the year gone by; of the happy gains and missed opportunities. Recount the good and bad of the past year. Introspect on your personal growth, and learn from the experience. New Year is the time to ensure that we bring balance to our life with positive influences overriding the negative ones.

I wish all SAWDIS readers only the best for 2012.

J. Terblanche
Founder: SA Weather and Disaster Information Service
Mossel Bay
South Africa

Tree lands on vehicle during storm

Image: ER24 (Click on image for larger view.)

A woman believed to be in her later 40’s had sustained serious injuries after an Oak Tree fell on top of her car in her driveway in Loteni Road, Notthingham Road this afternoon.

ER24 paramedics arrived on the scene and found the Oak Tree across the front of the bakkie with the driver still inside and entrapped. Paramedics assessed the patient that suspected possible neck and back injuries and multiple cuts and bruises to her body. Advanced Life Support had to be performed while the Fire Department used the Jaws of Life and other rescue equipment to extricate her from the vehicle. Once freed, she was transported to Howick Private in a serious but stable condition for further medical intervention.

It is believed that the woman had just arrived home and had approached her gate during a storm, when the tree fell over onto her car.

- ER24

Three operations on the last day of 2011

NATIONAL – Saturday, 31st DECEMBER, 2011:

Gordons Bay

At 14h56 NSRI Gordon’s Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports from members of the public, who had flagged down a Metro EMS ambulance on Beach Road, Strand, claiming that a man was drowning in the sea.

Gordon’s Bay duty crew launched their sea rescue craft and a Metro EMS rescue squad, the SA Police Force and the Metro EMS Skymed helicopter responded while paramedics from the Metro EMS ambulance that was flagged down responded to to the scene investigate.

Prior to NSRI arriving on-scene Metro EMS paramedics confirmed that the victim, a 28 year old man, from Sarepta, was out of the water where paramedics declared him dead.

The body of the man has been handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an inquest docket.

East London

At 01h15 on Saturday 31st December East London volunteers and Metro EMS were activated by Police to muster at the Kei Mouth ski-boat club following reports of 4 men overdue and missing from a white water rafting expedition on the Great Fish River.

The 4 young men had, it appears, embarked on an adventure, to white water raft the Great Fish River in a day, a trip that could at best normally take up to 5 days, and they had apparently confidently requested a parent of one of the men to meet them at the Kei Mouth ski-boat club at 17h00.
They were dropped off by a parent at 08h00 at the Kei River bridge, 70 kilometers upstream, with no life-jackets, no communications device, no red-distress flares, no safety equipment, no emergency rations, and in only their shorts, T-shirts, a hot-dog each, some water, 2 paddles and a 3 meter dinghy rubber-duck. When they failed to arrive as scheduled the families became concerned and reported the matter to local police at approximately 22h00.

When they had still not arrived at their destination by midnight Police summoned a Metro EMS search and rescue team, a Police team and an NSRI team to join forces to begin a search and rescue operation.

NSRI towed our LOTTO rescue runner and our rescue rigid inflatable, Metro EMS towed their rescue rigid inflatable, all three craft to be launched on-scene, and a Metro EMS helicopter was prepared for flight to begin a search from first light while rescue teams on foot began a search party.

Concerned parents also gathered at the ski-boat club anxious for news of the young mens fate.

The Metro EMS helicopter, while searching from first light, spotted the 4 men just 5 miles from where they had begun their adventure and after managing to land in a nearby valley all 4 were ‘rescued’ and airlifted to their waiting families.

They claim that they had used the internet to Google the distance and had made what they thought were adequate plans (thinking they would cover 10 kilometers an hour!) but they appeared shell shocked to learn that they had only covered 5 miles on their first day. To keep warm they had set up camp and slept under their boat and they say they had no idea anyone would come looking for them. It appears that they are still under the impression that they would have made it the remaining distance by lunch time today but once in the helicopter and while flying downstream to their waiting parents Metro EMS paramedics confirm that they got quite wide eyed when they realized just how much further they had to still go.

Their plans were unrealistic and at that rate of travel they would have taken 7 days to cover the distance according to Richards Bay Dorian Robertson.

The 4 men, Charl Pienaar, 26, Jason Jooste, 23, Bradley Halgreen, 19, and Michael Randall, 19, all from East London, have apologized to their parents and to their rescuers.

Table Bay

Table Bay duty crew were called out by the Transnet National Ports Authority at 08h34 to assist the yacht VOYAGER whose prop shaft had seized. She had contacted Maritime Radio Services requesting a tow and reporting to be off Granger Bay.
Table Bay sea rescue boat SPIRIT OF VODACOM launched and on arrival a tow-line was rigged and the yacht was brought safely to a mooring on North Wharf in the V&A Harbour.

The 2 owners on board, Rick and Souza Goltz are from Cape Canaveral, Florida USA and are planning on staying in Cape Town for a month. Their last port of call was Port Elizabeth.

The yacht VOYAGER under tow.

Spirit of Vodacom and the yacht Voyager.


Real Time Weather Observation: Germiston (31 December 2011)

Images: Pierre and Raine Carosyn (Click on images for larger view.)

Real Time Storm Observation: Mooi River (31 January 2011)

Photo from Dave and Caryl Balance living in Mooi River. Pic of all the hail after the storm.
Photo via Ross Murray, SAWDIS Observer, Durban. Thanks Ross, Dave and Caryl!!

SAWDIS Real -Time Weather Observation Information: 31 December 2011

ALERT: Large storm system in progress! For more information visit the SAWDIS Twitter by clicking HERE.