HAMNET Report 12th Match 2023

Tropical Cyclone FREDDY unfortunately turns out to be a sort of gift that keeps on giving. Having continued eastward over the Mozambique Channel, from Mozambique toward Madagascar, and strengthening, it re-formed in the afternoon of 4th March as a tropical storm. On 6 March at 06.00 UTC, its centre was located over the sea approximately 90 km south-west of the coast of Madagascar. Due to the heavy rainfall over Madagascar, another fatality was recorded, about 350 people needed to be moved to safety, and about 200 houses were damaged.

Between the 7th and 9th March, FREDDY strengthened and moved north-westward over the Mozambique Channel again, toward central-northern Mozambique, with maximum sustained winds up to 145 km/h. It was forecast to make landfall on 10th March in the evening local time over the southern Zambezia Province of Mozambique.  Malawi may also later be in its line of fire. As of Friday, 2 ½ million people were projected to be threatened by the expected course of this long-lasting storm.

Meanwhile, the website Phys.org reports that tropical storm FREDDY is on track to break the record as the longest-lasting cyclone of its kind, the United Nations said on Friday, as the killer storm was set to hit Mozambique once again.

Freddy has been a named tropical cyclone for 33 days since developing off the north Australian coast and becoming a named storm on February 6. Freddy has periodically weakened below tropical storm status, such as when it was lingering over Mozambique and Zimbabwe the first time around.

Once it has dissipated, a WMO climate extremes expert committee will assess all the data to determine whether a new record has indeed been set, a process that could take months.

Michael ZS1MJT has sent me a report of a rescue exercise held last Saturday in Cape Town. He says that, on Saturday 4 March, there was a joint Wilderness Search and Rescue exercise held around Table Mountain. HAMNETs primary task was to set up SARTtrack and track the movements and routes of all the various teams in the field by APRS, as well as ensure there were radio communications between the teams and the JOC.

Each team had been issued with a specific call sign and handed an APRS tracker to carry in their backpacks. Radio communications were tested before teams departed. Due to the geography, a relay point for both radio and APRS had to be deployed.

They all mustered at 07h30 Saturday morning and were briefed on 2 scenarios. The first involved 2 missing persons and the other was a technical rope rescue.

The missing persons’ scenario was held on the Camps Bay side of Table Mountain, along the pipe track hiking route. They were told that a party of 3 had started the hike the previous afternoon and only 1 person had returned to his home. The other 2 were still missing.

First sent to search were the two K9 search and rescue dogs and handlers. The idea was to get them on the scent before too many people contaminated the area where the search was to be conducted. Thereafter, the search teams were mobilized and they scanned the pipe track for clues and the 2 missing persons.

In the meanwhile, Mountain Club members took off up the mountainside to look for and assist a person who was ‘stuck on ropes’.  This scenario took place just under the cable way. The two scenarios were thus happening at the same time.

A K9 team eventually found the first missing person who was given some medical attention. More resources were sent to assist with the stretcher carry-out of this person.

The second person was later found by the second K9 unit.

The MCSA members had rigged their equipment to enable the safe removal of their “victim” from the ropes and then prepare him for the journey back to the JOC.

After the training was completed, They were given some eats and drinks and held a short debrief.

It was an extremely ‘busy’ exercise with the 2 scenarios at the same time, but a lot was learnt by all.

The de-brief concluded at 16h45.

Michael thanks ZS1’s WW, BWM, BR, JFK, AL and JM for helping him during the exercise. Thank you for the report, Michael.

He told me later that 10 APRS trackers were issued to the various teams, and successfully followed from the opposite side of Table Mountain, using a mobile digipeater positioned on Lion’s Head. All APRS facilities were thus successfully deployed and tested.

How many of you, I wonder, have noticed how a piece of music can cause you to relive moments in your life when you first heard or appreciated it?

This experience—when music brings back memories of events, people and places from our past—is known as a music-evoked autobiographical memory. And it’s a common experience.

It often occurs as an involuntary memory. That is, we make no effort to try to recall such memories; they just come to mind spontaneously.

Research has recently begun to uncover why music appears to be such a good cue for invoking memories. First, music tends to accompany many distinctive life events, so it can play an important role in reconnecting us with these self-defining moments.

Music also often captures our attention, due to the way it affects our minds, bodies and emotions.

When music draws our attention, this increases the likelihood that it will be encoded in memory together with details of the life event. And this then means it is able to serve as an effective cue for remembering this event, years later.

It seems that music is not only good at evoking memories, but also the times when we are more likely to listen to music are the times when our minds may naturally be more likely to wander anyway.

Indeed, the power of music to connect us with our past shows how music, memories and emotions are all linked—and it seems certain songs can act as a direct line to our younger selves.

This is certainly true for this reporter.

Thank you to Kelly Jakubowski, writing in “The Conversation” for these excerpts from her article.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.