HAMNET Report 9th June 2024

A summary of the severe weather South Africa experienced in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and issued by GDACS on Friday says that, following the heavy rainfall, strong winds and snowfall that affected the Eastern Cape and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces in eastern South Africa, on 1-3 June and caused floods, the number of casualties and damage has increased.

As of 6th June, according to media reports, 22 people died, of whom 11 were in Eastern Cape and 11 in Durban area in KwaZulu-Natal, 55 people have been injured, 120 people have been displaced in three temporary shelters, more than 2,000 people have been evacuated in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. In addition, several houses and schools have been damaged.

Over the 48 hours to Today (Sunday), more rainfall was still forecast over western and southern South Africa, and drier conditions expected in the eastern provinces

Meanwhile, volcanic eruptions are being experienced in Philippines and heavy rainfall and flooding in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Brazil and Germany.

Reporting on the ISUZU Ironman 70.3 event held in Durban on 2nd June 2024, Keith ZS5WFD of HAMNET KZN reports a lovely cool start to the morning which saw 7 Hamnet KZN members deployed on the 90Km Bike Course between Suncoast Casino and Umdloti/M4 Freeway intersection.  A total of 1155 athletes and 34 teams entered for the event. 

Our primary objectives were to ensure cyclists safety by reporting unauthorised private vehicles on the route/road closures, medical emergencies, requests for bike maintenance and withdrawals. 

Joint Operations Centre (JOC) was situated opposite the old Natal Command HQ and manned by Provincial Director Keith Lowes ZS5WFD. Wayne ZS5WAY was positioned at the Penalty Tent 1 at M4/Umdloti, Ben ZS5BN was at the M4/Umhlanga off-ramp, Terry ZS5TB was at Penalty Tent 2 in Suncoast Casino parking area and Deon ZS5DD/Troy ZS5TWJ were at M4/Sandile Thusi at the turnaround (called Argyle Rd in the old street name terms)  Communications were all on 145.550 Simplex . Keith was using the 3-element dual band satellite antenna produced by AMSAT-SA, which was mounted on a telescopic mast.

The temperature recorded at 12H50 outside the JOC in Durban by Event Safety Officer Andre Botha was 28.8°C.

Keith was pleased to report that no serious incidents occurred and offers his thanks to those members that assisted on the day.

Their next event will be the Scottburgh to Brighton Paddle Ski Race on Saturday 29th June 2024.

Thanks Keith for the reportage. Look forward to hearing from you after the 29th of June!

Insideradio.com says in a report issued on 5th June that The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts the upcoming hurricane season, which officially began June 1, will be among the most active in recent years. It is not just radio that is gearing up. So too is the Federal Communications Commission, where the focus in recent months has been on improving communications during disasters.

New FCC rules that took effect in May require wireless providers to share communications outages with the FCC and first responders and emergency management personnel at the federal, state and local level. Carriers must also develop roaming agreements with their rivals and agree on sharing physical assets to reduce the impact of wireless outages and support faster service restoration during emergencies. The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced the guidelines Tuesday for how states can request an activation of what is known as the Mandatory Disaster Response Initiative.

“After each hurricane, we examine what worked, what didn’t work, and what lessons we can apply to improve access to communications during future disasters,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “That led us to adopt the new Mandatory Disaster Response Initiative, which requires wireless providers to collaborate during disasters so that people can stay connected when they most need it.

“During crises, the importance of staying connected takes on additional urgency,” Rosenworcel said. “And the Commission is continuing to do its part to improve communications reliability and resiliency for first responders and consumers.”

A report from news.sky.com notes that, when Maureen Sweeney gave her weather report on 3 June 1944, little did she know it would be central to thousands of troops successfully landing in Normandy – an event that went on to change the course of the Second World War.

“Please check, please repeat.” A frantic telephone call from a woman with a cut-glass English accent took Maureen Sweeney by surprise.

A short time earlier, the Irish postmistress had filed her hourly weather report: “Force six wind and a rapidly falling barometer.”

It was her 21st birthday but she and her soon-to-be husband Ted, keepers of the Blacksod Lighthouse, had their job to do.

Their son Vincent recalls: “My mother said, ‘oh my God, were my readings wrong?'” They were not wrong, but they had caused alarm for those planning the imminent D-Day landings.

Some 5,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft had transported 156,000 Allied troops in readiness for the beachfront offensive at Normandy. But there was one thing UK, US and Canadian commanders had no control over – the weather on 5 June, the date they had earmarked for invasion.

It is small and unremarkable in appearance, but the lighthouse at Blacksod Point in County Mayo was about to claim its place in history. Maureen’s son, Vincent, who is the current lighthouse attendant, explains: “We have the first gaze into the Atlantic.

“Any weather that is coming in will come in over us.

“But this depression, with northwest winds, was coming in directly over Blacksod, down through the UK and into the Channel.

“That would have hit Normandy in about five hours, so it was critical.”

Despite Ireland’s neutrality during the Second World War, it continued to supply weather forecasts to Britain under an agreement in place since independence.

Maureen never imagined for a moment that the fate of tens of thousands of Allied troops hung on her readings.

Her report on 3 June indicated a cold front lying halfway across Ireland and moving rapidly south-eastwards, towards Normandy.

Had the plan gone ahead, Allied troops would have faced catastrophe, trying to steer boats through rough water and scramble on to the beach in driving rain.

Maureen’s weather warning, checked and double-checked by Ted, persuaded those in charge to postpone by a day.

In the early hours of 5th June, at General Eisenhower’s morning briefing, another report from Blacksod confirmed that the cold front had passed.

A loud cheer went up in the room, the long-awaited weather clearance had arrived and he gave the order for Operation Overlord to proceed.

And that, friends, is why D-Day took place on the very day my sister, who celebrated her 80th birthday this past Thursday, was born, and not a day earlier!

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