OPINION: Watching skies with bated breath

You know what’s going on with the weather don’t you! Just go outside and you’ll see.

For the past week or so lovely rain has been falling; soft, steady stuff that does farms, rain tanks, gardens and lawns a world of good. And with a bit of luck it might top up our larger dams too, and restrictions will be lifted.

Well first let me remind you that El Niño years bring below normal rainfall and that La Niña usually brings normal to above normal rain, but this cannot be accepted as a rule.

The good news, according to the SA Weather Service’s Eastern Cape forecasting desk in PE, is that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is developing towards a La Niña state, and is expected to be at least a weak La Niña throughout summer.

Early and midsummer forecasts indicate a typical La Niña with above-normal rainfall expected during the November-December-January and December-January-February seasons across summer rainfall areas.

The weathermen say even though forecasting of floods at a seasonal time-scale is not possible to determine (that is, no indication of intensity and timing during the season can be given), above-normal rainfall is usually accompanied by a higher frequency of flood events during an area’s main rainfall season.

They advise that early warning systems from the SA Weather Service be followed throughout the summer.

Lower temperatures on average are also expected over summer rainfall areas which is due to the higher than normal number of rainy days expected. On the other hand south-western parts of the country are expected to have higher temperatures on average. As with flood events, hot and cold episodes cannot be forecast accurately.

“The SA Weather Service will continue to monitor and provide updates on its dissemination of any future assessments that may provide more clarity on current expectations for the coming seasons.”

Those are the experts’ opinions and if they pan out, it’s just what we need – some good, solid rain.

Dams that serve Buffalo City are generally holding up to the previous week’s capacities. Bridle Drift is at 54% of capacity; Laing is 101; Nahoon (fed by Wriggleswade) 95; Wriggleswade 66.

Elsewhere in the eastern side of the province things are looking good.

Updated rainfall figures taken at Chiselhurst are above:

And now for something completely different … I went off to the Traffic Department in Braelyn the other day to renew my driver’s licence. My five years was just about up and, with four weeks to expiry, it was time to act. So I drove across town and followed a route I did not know existed until my daughter pointed it out.

I used to go through Southernwood along St Peter’s Road and make my way along St John’s and M3 to the Traffic Department. The “new” route took me up Lukin Road, into Main Road Amalinda, left into Connaught Ave, into Frederick Street, left onto the North West Expressway and right onto the M3.

It was a piece of cake. Friday at 9am, however, was not a good choice. The place was packed and I sidled up to a lady who seemed to have all the papers she needed and I asked what was required. “Well, first you must have your utility bill to show your place of abode and address,” she told me. “Really!”

I didn’t have that. I’d have to go home and get it. No good staying and finding I couldn’t get anything done.

Back home I decided there was no point returning to an even longer queue; I’d try again on Monday. Then I checked the AARTO reminder letter about my licence and found no reference anywhere to taking a utility bill, but I took it anyway, and it was called for.

To cut a long story short, queues on Monday were shorter, the examiner was happy with my eye test, fingerprints were taken and an hour and a bit later I’d done everything, paid my R216 fee and now wait to be called when the licence is ready.

Don’t procrastinate, check the expiry date. If you act before that, you have an extra three months before your current licence expires. However, it should be ready in four to six weeks. – robinrosst@gmail.com

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