Sunday, 27 July 2008

South African Weather


South Africa has some extreme weather. In summer, especially in the inland areas, Thunder Storms often build up during the early afternoon and can become quite violent. Although predictable on a hot summer's day, they can develop very quickly and it is thus advisable for all aviation related sports to treat the sky with due respect. During a thunder storm, visibility reduces rapidly and there is usually a heavy downpour of rain and/or hail, as well as lightning and thunder.

In winter, the air is more stable, although there is usually a lot of haze as a result of an inversion. This makes navigation very difficult and it is advisable to fly with somebody who knows the area and to make sure you have a spare set of batteries for your GPS. The danger in winter, as can be seen from this photograph of a glider doing a high speed fly past, is the rapid approach of a cold front (right of picture).

An otherwise beautifully calm day, can deteriorate rapidly as the front sometimes approaches at speeds of up to 50km/hour. Strong winds and the formation of low Orographic cloud, make these conditions very dangerous for sport aviation pilots - so check with the local Met office at the beginning of the day before embarking on any cross country flights.

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