Cyclone Dineo in the Mozambique Channel has been dominating our news.
In a report from the International Business Times, Cyclone Dineo killed seven people in Mozambique this week, injured dozens and levelled 20,000 homes along the African coast. Cyclone Dineo, which has since been downgraded to a tropical depression, continued to flood South Africa on Friday with eight crop-threatening inches of rain as the countries in the storm’s wake attempted to recover, the Herald Live reported.
“We are again appealing to residents to stay close to their radios as disaster management teams will also be keeping a close eye on the vulnerabilities of different areas,” meteorologist Lulama Menze told the Citizen. “We want to reiterate that the effects of the storm will still be felt, despite it having weakened.”
Dineo, a hurricane that produced winds up to 100 mph, made landfall on Mozambique’s coast Wednesday night, bringing with it rough sea conditions and several thunderstorms. Though areas like the Gaza province didn’t suffer much from the bad weather, the Mopani district in the Limpopo province was forced to cancel school and the Inhambane province of Mozambique saw more than 100,000 people impacted by the storm, according to Herald Live. NASA spotted Dineo from space!
As the weekend got underway, parts of the storm were expected to move into Botswana, the South African Weather Service wrote in a news release.
“The vortex of ex-Dineo is becoming more indistinct as the system weakens,” the service wrote. “Notwithstanding this weakening trend, the system will still pose a great risk for the next 36 to 48 hours, particularly in terms of further exceptionally heavy rainfall and resultant flooding. By Saturday, patches of heavy rain occurrence could even persist over the northern parts of Namibia and Botswana.”
Brian Jones ZS6BV, Regional Director for HAMNET Limpopo Province says “Reports I have from farmers and from CCTV visuals in the area north of the Soutpansberg are of normal rains and wind is a fresh breeze. The effect of Dineo was less than was forecast.” End quote.
Hamnet Free State/Vaal says it will be monitoring emergency frequencies as from 08h00 Friday 17-02-2017 SAST.
“This will be to see what band conditions will be, if we are needed for comms with the Tropical Cyclone, and will also be a nice exercise for all,” said Rickus de Lange ZS4A, Regional Director of HAMNET Free State.
Francois Botha ZS6BUU reported to me that Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, Provincial Director for HAMNET KZN and Glenham Duffey ZS5GD indicated that they also had networks in operation. The 40 M band frequency of 7,110 MHz became a hive of activity with members reporting in from all over and exchanging signal reports. The 80 metre frequency of 3,760 MHz was in excellent condition on Thursday evening.
And a final note on Cyclone Dineo yesterday was the mention from Francois ZS6BUU that the cyclone is no more, and the satellite photo posted by Tim Hewitt ZS1TGH on the HAMNET Facebook page showing a tatty cyclonic cloud distribution over the far North of the Northern Cape and perhaps Southern Botswana. Let’s hope patchy rain is falling in these areas.
And now a message from Leon Lessing ZS6LMG of HAMNET Gauteng South:
“HAMNET Gauteng South now has an emergency number: 087 550 2482.
We are currently trying to draw up an operational plan for manning it, so any ideas would be appreciated. We have tested this at the value logistics cycle race and it performed perfectly on 4G and LTE data. With Sunday’s Ride for Sight race this will be the primary emergency contact number for race related incidents.
The idea is to punch this through to our local microwave network, but that is a long term capital intensive plan.” End quote.
The invasion of the Fall Armyworm should be declared a national disaster so that emergency funds can be made available to affected provinces before it reaches “catastrophic levels” said Political Parties on Monday.
South Africa meets all the requirements to declare the crop infestation a national disaster according to section 23(6) of the National Disaster Management Act. The Act allows for a disaster to be declared nationally if more than one province is affected.
“The worm could also compromise food security, pushing the price of food up, affecting the ability of millions of South Africans to put food on the table for their families,” it has been stated.
The worm, which is, of course, a caterpillar, likes maize, sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts and potatoes.
The department of agriculture has asked chemical suppliers urgently to register products that can be used to control it.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen has been called on to declare the ‘invasion’ of the pest a national disaster, so that it can trigger the release of much-needed funding to assist maize farmers who are currently struggling to fight this plague.
The department was warned in October 2016 by the International Association for the Plan Protection Sciences (IAPPS) which, at the time, confirmed the outbreak of the pest in Nigeria. The IAPPS warned at the time that the pest could spread rapidly.
According to the latest reports, the pest has spread to Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
The Department of Water and Sanitation reports this week that all provincial averages for dam levels are slightly better than last week, except for the poor Western Cape, with no prospect for rain in the next 2 months, and dams at 35%, compared to 42% this time last year. I wonder if Cyclone Dineo could be persuaded to put on an encore here in the Western Cape for our benefit.
Cycle and road-running races abound today in the provinces, and we wish all HAMNET operators good comms in their duties shepherding the competitors on their routes. If you’re out driving, and come across some runners or riders, please give them the benefit of a safe journey.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.