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Luke Gulyaev
Luke Gulyaev

South African Weather Services



In April 2022, several days of unsettled weather brought copious amounts of rain to southern Africa. In KwaZulu-Natal, a province on the eastern coast of South Africa, the deluge spurred deadly flooding and landslides.




South African Weather Services



Severe weather events associated with strong winds and flooding can cause fatalities, injuries and damage to property. Detailed and accurate weather forecasts that are issued and communicated timeously, and actioned upon, can reduce the impact of these events. The responsibility to provide such forecasts usually lies with government departments or state-owned entities; in South Africa that responsibility lies with the South African Weather Service (SAWS). SAWS is also a regional specialised meteorological centre and therefore provides weather information to meteorological services within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We evaluated SAWS weather information using near real-time observations and models on the nowcasting to short-range forecasting timescales during two extreme events. These are the Idai tropical cyclone in March 2019 which impacted Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi resulting in over 1000 deaths, and the floods over the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in April 2019 that caused over 70 deaths. Our results show that weather models gave an indication of these systems in advance, with warnings issued at least 2 days in advance in the case of Idai and 1 day in advance for the KZN floods. Nowcasting systems were also in place for detailed warnings to be provided as events progressed. Shortcomings in model simulations were shown, in particular on locating the KZN flood event properly and over/-underestimation of the event. The impacts experienced during the two events indicate that more needs to be done to increase weather awareness, and build disaster risk management systems, including disaster preparedness and risk reduction.Significance:


The South African Weather Service is continuing to monitor the weather system that is expected to cause a range of extreme weather conditions over the majority of South Africa as from today, Monday, 6 August 2012 onwards.The areas most likely to be affected are as follows: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng as well as the southern parts of North West province. In other words, the only province not to be directly affected by these extreme winter conditions will be Limpopo province.


The cause of the above-mentioned extreme weather conditions will be the combination of a well-defined cut-off low pressure system (located in the upper regions of the atmosphere), interacting with a cold frontal system. An additional feature associated with this weather pattern, is the presence of a strong surface high (also known as an anticyclone) that will be ridging very strongly overland, immediately following the passage of the cold front. This process of surface ridging is expected to advect (i.e. move horizontally) very cold air from our sub-Antarctic southern ocean areas. Daytime temperatures for South Africa are thus likely to drop significantly over the majority of the interior between today and tomorrow, with many areas likely to experience daytime maximums of only 10C (or even less!) by tomorrow. >> More


AfricaWeather is the leading commercial weather services provideracross the continent. We assist our clients in managing weather risks efficiently throughsolutions that are easy to implement and have a direct impact on the profitability for our clients.


ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE 13 March 2001 SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE BILL: Chairperson: Ms GL Mahlangu Documents handed out: South African Weather Service Bill [B54-2000] SUMMARY The Committee considered the remainder of the proposed amendments to the South African Weather Service Bill. After certain amendments were added to the document, the Committee adopted a motion of desirability. MINUTES Ms N Mkhwanazi from the Department continued to outline the Department's proposed amendments to the South African Weather Service Bill [B54-2000]. Discussion Section 197 Mr J Stander (Public Service Association) asked why section 197 was not taken into account for the transfer of staff to the Chief Directorate. He thought there should be some sort of protection for staff to ensure that there is no retrenchment or reduction of staff for a certain period. Ms N Mkhwanazi replied that the point had been raised in the previous meeting and the members of NEHAWU had made a submission that the legislation should include protection from retrenchments of existing employees for a certain period of time. S197 protects the employees of an enterprise that is a "going concern". She said it is debatable that the Weather Service is in effect a going concern. The substance and essence of section 197 of the Labour Relations Act has been provided for in section 17 of the Weather Service Bill. Section 17(3)(e) Mr Stander based his second question on section 17(3)(e), asking if it was not possible for the government to transfer all accrued leave benefits to the new Weather Service to ensure that the new Weather Service did not take over huge burdens with the new dispensation. The Chairperson said the matter had been dealt with in the last meeting and asked if the Department could answer the question. Mr GC Schulze (Dept. of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) replied that the payout of leave in this regard should be a provision that is budgeted for, and must be applied in a normal budgetary allocation. The Bill could not in any way prescribe such a thing. Ms JA Semple (DP) asked what Department is referred to in section 20(3). Ms Mkhwanazi replied that it is the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Mr W Le Roux asked what happens if the Airlines Association is of the opinion that it is being charged exorbitantly high prices, is there anywhere else they can turn to for weather service information? Mr Schulze replied that this is the reason behind the establishment of the Regulatory Committee; its function is that of an independent body that can look into the matter. Section 26 Ms Mkhwanazi referred to the amended section 26. The initial Bill had an extra clause to the effect that damages could be claimed if a loss was as a result of malicious or gross negligence. The Department dispensed with this proviso because it is already covered by an ordinary delictual claim in which one has to prove malicious or gross negligence. Mr Sokhela (State Law Advisor) added that it was felt that the proviso to section 26 was superfluous and that it had to be removed. Mr SN Swart (ACDP) asked for clarity on why there is a requirement of gross negligence. He suggested that negligence would be sufficient to found liability in delict. Ms Mkhwanazi agreed with Mr Swart's suggestion. However, she said that the weather information is full of errors. This is what precipitated the requirement for a higher standard of care. Mr Swart said he fully appreciates that weather predictions are not precise. However, the current formulation in the amended section 26 excludes all liability for any damage and loss even where there is pure negligence, but in the absence of gross negligence. Ms Mkhwanazi replied that the object of the section is to limit liability, not to exclude it. The courts will have a large scope of interpretation of this section as to the extent of liability. The outcome of each case will depend on its own facts. "Aviation" Ms Semple asked for reasons behind the exclusion of the word "aviation" in section 27(b) of the Department's proposed amendments. The original Bill provides that "the Minister may, after consultation with the Board, make regulations regarding fees for the provision of aviation and maritime meteorological services". Ms Mkhwanazi replied that the exclusion of this word has been a result of the Department's proposal that section 19(6) be deleted from the Bill. Schedule 1 Ms Semple referred to the amendment of Item 5 of Schedule1 and asked who pays for the service and how much they pay. Ms Mkhwanazi replied that these are public good services and, in terms of how the legislation is structured, these services are free to the general public. Mr RK September (ANC) asked if clause 13 that had been added to Schedule 1 of the Department's proposed amendments could also include the provision of services for fishermen. Ms Mkhwanazi replied that would be discussed with the Minister and with the Department. She finally referred to Schedule 1 Clause 10 of the Department's Draft document and said that it has been amended to read "The provision of meteorological and functional related training in partnership with higher education institutions". The reason for excluding the word "tertiary" is in line with the fact that this word has in the past excluded Technikons. Recent legislation on education uses higher education as an inclusive term that includes all higher education institutions including Technikons. Formal Consideration of the Bill The Chairperson suggested that since there were no further questions on the Bill, the Committee had to proceed to the formal consideration of the Bill. The Chairperson read out the motion of desitability and the Committee adopted it. The Committee then went through the Bill clause by clause: Chapter 1, clause 1 - agreed. Chapter 2, clause 2 as amended - agreed. Clause 3. as amended - agreed. Clause 4, as amended - agreed. Clause 5, as amended - agreed. Clause 6 - agreed. Clause 7 and 8 - agreed. Clause 9 as amended - agreed. Clause 10 and 11 - agreed. Clause 12 - agreed. Clause 13 - agreed. Clause 14 - agreed. Clause 15, as amended - agreed. Clause 16, as amended - agreed. Clause 17, as amended - agreed. Clause 18 - agreed. Clause 19, as amended - agreed. Clause 20, 21, 22 & 23 - agreed. Clause 24, as amended - agreed. Clause 25 - agreed. Clause 26, as amended - agreed. Clause 27, as amended - agreed. Clause 28 - agreed. Clause 29 - agreed. Clause 30 and 31 - agreed. Schedule 1: as further amended - agreed Item 13 of Schedule 1(as contained in Department's proposed amendments) This clause was further amended: "The provision of service for the benefit of subsistence farmers and fisheries". The Committee members ultimately agreed to adopt the clause according to Mr Schulze's formulation. Schedule 2, as amended - agreed. The Committee unanimously voted on the Bill with amendments. Finally the Chairperson presented a report to the Committee to the effect that the Portfolio Committee report the Bill with amendments, a motion with which all Committee members agreed. She said the Bill would be tabled in the House for adoption. The meeting was concluded. 041b061a72


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