How many cubits long?

I’ve always had a fondness for the weather. I would have become a meteorologist, but I couldn’t pronounce the word properly, so the admissions officer at the university stuck me in with the other first-year students who tended to mutter a lot: the engineers. By happy chance, my present field of specialisation allows me to dabble in climate statistics to the extent that when I start talking shop, I reduce grown men to tears.

The reason I mention this is because the recent flooding in the southern and eastern cape has served as a sharp reminder that we haven’t had a serious storm in Cape Town for nearly forty years. And when I say “serious”, I’m not talking about the events that turn the squatter camps into giant mud puddles with monotonous regularity. I’m talking LOTS* of water.

I have the inside track on this, because a couple of years ago I was part of a study team that examined potential flooding in and around the Cape Metropolitan Area. Sadly, the report that came out of the study is busy gathering dust somewhere in the city archives and suffering from a severe Cassandra complex. I have little doubt that after the damage has been done, it will be dug out and used as political stick to beat people with, but that is simply the way things are done around here.

Let me put it this way, if you live or work anywhere near one of the city’s waterways, now would probably be a good time to invest in a pair of Wellington boots – and just to be safe, a snorkel.

* the technical hydrological term is ‘a fuckload’


33 thoughts on “How many cubits long?

  1. Well, since weather is your not-so-secret-anymore fetish, the rushing flood waters streaming through our houses here in By George! probably would’ve given you a… er… wet dream.


  2. Kyk, my dad is a meteorologist. Specialised in condensation and evaporation, to be specific. His journals can be found in the weather section of most public libraries.
    I’ve never been partial to condensation and evaporation, but perhaps you two would have much to talk about! 🙂


  3. Shortypam: Just make sure you check the weather forecast first.

    redsaid: Well it has been a long time…

    anne: Only when I’m technical? [sigh]

    Peas: Apart from the obvious, obviously 😉 “…so how exactly did you meet my daughter?” “Well, there was this competition, see…”


  4. Exactly what do you count as a waterway (?), because I spend more time than I’d like to in a large building on the foreshore. I’ve always wondered if the foreshore is destined to be reclaimed by the sea.

    And would we lose the Waterfront too? (That’s not necessarily a worry of mine, now that the IMAX (and most of the free parking) is gone; it’s more something I’d go and blog about in great glee.)

    [And a big “hello” to you to, especially now that I’m the only one who reads “this”. (I am receiving less clickthroughs too. Damnation!)]


  5. Shortypam: Those damned fruit fairies get into everything. Where’s my swatter? Better pack your flippers, just to be safe.

    Mandy J Watson: River, stream – anything with ‘fresh’ water in it, so Shit Creek doesn’t count. You should be okay on the foreshore – at least until sea-level rise becomes really noticable. Once that happens, storm surges are going to make the Waterfront an exciting place to be. Sorry about the traffic drop-off. Looks like I’ll have to start working on new material.

    Peas: Damn.


  6. mandy: It’s only a matter of time. You’d better pack a lunch if you’re planning to settle in and wait, though.

    dolce: Of course, but owing to one of the vagaries of urban microclimate, you generally have to be standing next to multi-story building that’s on fire to see this unusual natural phenomenon.


  7. That is a fascinating and rather descriptive technical term. Good thing you didn’t ‘mumble’ over that part or I would have been denied the pleasure of learning true SA tech terms.


  8. Hmm. The Tart has predictably tarty wellies. I prefer slightly more sophisticated rubber. I tried to put a link in but figured if you were all that interested you could just come and ask.


  9. This is the Society for the Inclusion of Male Bloggers on Kyknoord’s site.

    Forget the flooding.

    We interrupt this blog to point out the tsunami of female respondents in comparison to males.

    Of the 19 comments rendered before this one (and not including Mr. Kyknoord’s responses), 14 were from females and one, by our count, from a male.

    As you know, Mr. Kyknoord, the maximum female/male ratio for blogging comments is 70-30 — a ratio far exceeded thus far for this post.

    We warned you during your Win a Date with Kyk Contest that this would not be tolerated.

    This is your final warning. Failure to comply will result in prompt dismissal from the society.

    In the meantime, we have launched an investigation into just what it is about you that is causing this phenomenon…


  10. Is there anyway you can contain your precipitation? We’ve got LOTS of wet stuph around here to last us a LONG* time.

    * An indeterminable period.


  11. LiVEwiRe: It’s not just a local tech term – it’s an official ISO standard term, so you can use it internationally too.

    The Tart: Lovely wellies, although a bit conservative for Cape Town.

    Cherrypie: You’ve got the full-body latex catsuit, haven’t you?

    The Tart: Hey! Who told you that? You’re my ex in disguise, aren’t you?

    Within Without: Bloody hell, you are so right! I’ve become the Chitty of Cape Town. Hmmm… is there something you’re not telling us, WW?

    Katt: I’ll look around for a really big bucket.


  12. I am with WW on this one. The ladies all seem to want to nurture and coddle you. Perhaps being so far away is an aphrodisiac?

    My guess is that they believe that you must be responsible, methodical and practical because you are some kind of la-di-da Engineer?
    Big Deal! How hard could it be to drive a train?


  13. ShutterJane: They make a sort of squeaky, grinding noise.

    Within Without: It’s true. Animals love me.

    homo escapeons: My job is so easy, even I can do it.

    broadzilla: Some people. I think my ex is selling hers on eBay.


  14. just when i was getting jealous of all the people who live in cape town… i am suddenly glad i won’t have to put up with LOTS* of water anytime soon where i live- i like a dry bed waaay too much!

    * insert technical hydrological term here


  15. The term I’ve heard here (and have had directed my way) is “weather geek.”

    If you get happy watching live-action barometric pressure graphing, if you like to drive INTO bruise-colored thunderstorms rather than away…you too could be a weather geek.

    Texas has a stunning variety of weather, most of the kind that involves roof damage or fleeing to other cities. If you ever get bored with CT weather, come visit me and Miz Tart, especially in tornado season.


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