Saturday, 21 April 2012

USA vs Africa - Weather & houses.

America 
    has  
the 
worst 
weather ..
       Hands 
                       Down!!!


We seriously keep under-estimating the weather here.  People have doppler-radar apps on their phones, and check the weather all the time.  We blissfully sail on through our days, unaware of any impending danger until  suddenly a massive storm looms over the horizon, threatening with winds of 60-80 miles an hour, lightening strikes, hail, flooding and possibly even tornadoes.  Yes, of course we get Hurricanes and Cyclones in Africa.. but it makes a substantial difference when we live in a solid brick house.  In fact most houses around here are made  a little tougher than Wheet-bix, but not much.  A Wheet-bix house is all very well, until a hurricane/flood/tornado comes along!  Wheet-bix houses are cheap to build, instant and practically disposable... hence their popularity here in the USA.  Wheet-bix houses would really delight the criminals in Africa, hence their lack of existence in Africa.  It would be so easy to knock a hole straight through the wall of a Wheet-bix house, it might just be harder to break a window.


Excerpt from my diary a few nights ago.
It's 01:30 a.m. and I am awake because my trailer is being buffeted by howling winds..  so I've been trawling the net looking for weather alerts.  'Wind advisory' is in place, which means what?  I have ominous images of tornadoes whirling through my brain.  Turns out in this case that it means we should not travel with our trailer, or possibly that the trailer could blow over.  Yikes.
Ignore the weather at your own peril in the US.  In fact  the first time I heard a severe weather alert on the radio, I was not too perturbed until I heard the words 'tornado watch'.  TORNADO!!! My goodness, when you live in a trailer constructed like an oversized match box, the word TORNADO is very scary.
On a previous trip to the US, Stuart and I were walking outside  and saying  "look at that storm, those clouds are a funny green color... could be hail - hey, where are the Americans?"
Turns out the Americans were in their storm shelters and nobody told "the Africans" to run and hide because they all thought it was obvious that a tornado was lurking in the clouds!  Same thing happened to my folks.



Late afternoon 2 days ago, I drove  into the camp ground and said to the kids "that's funny, I've never seen a trailer leaving the park at this time of day, they usually leave before 12:00 pm" and then we saw lots of trailers being hooked up, and people rushing around with big wide eye's.  That was when we began to realize that possibly the clouds looming overhead were threatening!  Our friend Jimmy, from the park security force, came over and said "follow me".. we followed him to the rodeo arena and parked our cars under the big roof, and sheltered through the storm inside a cinder block building.  It felt safe.  Stuart was in Dubai, watching our weather on Doppler radar, and told us when the storm had passed.  Don't you just love technology.

This is our lake.. 
and those heaving waves are generated by wind alone!

Also if you think Hoedspruit is hot ... try Texas!

In my experience, the best weather in the world is in Harare.  The summer is mild and probably the most perfect temperature ever.  Winter is mild.  You might put on a sweater in the morning, but by mid-day it's warm enough to take it off.

If I got a little carried away with the tornado images.. you have to admit that they are kinda impressive! They come off google images.
I need to get a weather radio.

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