23 January 2012

Weather

There is only one cyclone/hurricane/typhoon active on the whole globe at the moment. Unfortunately it's in our back yard.

Occasionally we have to delay a trip for a few hours due to early morning fog. Once or twice we've had to divert to another airport due to bad weather. It's not often, though, that we postpone a whole flight altogether.

Right now we were expecting to be in the village of Nensa on the banks of the Zambezi with an education development team, but instead we are sat in the office in South Africa typing this update.

One of the last entries below detailed some weather that we had about a week ago that affected us in the east of South Africa. It seems that when that dissipated some of the moisture got sucked into another depression that was developing off the coast to the north of Mozambique and the result was another more powerful cyclone, misleadingly called Funso.
To give you an idea, two of the boxes on the map above are a little further than the length of the UK.

Currently Funso is a Category 3 cyclone but is forecast to develop into a Category 4 tomorrow (Katrina in the US a few years ago was a Category 5). Here's a map that shows rain intensity. Basically as you can see from the key, all the pinks and purples are as about as heavy rain as you can get.
The next two maps shows how quick it developed and are two days apart from each other.

All is not entirely lost though.

Mercy Air has a working relationship with a number of aid organisations (CARE, OXFAM, Save the Children etc) based in Maputo and we are on call to assist with natural disasters of varying magnitudes. The rain we had last week has now made it's way into the river systems and the levels are currently peaking in the lower Limpopo River Basin. They have asked us to do some survey flights to assess the situation and we will likely fly over early on Wednesday morning to take various NGO representatives to have a closer look.

Mercy Air team

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