Thursday, February 21, 2008

What do the early morning clouds say?

I looked at the clouds at 7 am today (Thursady 21 Feb) from my back door so see what the weather may hold for the next two days.

Ok so maybe you think I am a dingbat - why not get out some fishbones and shake them in a sharkskin bag, spit on it and shake them out to divine the next two days weather.

From what I saw in the cloud pattern this morning I predict a westerly wind is comming today or tonight. And I guess that the atmospheic pressure has dropped low(under 1010 heptapascals) too.

As I type this post the other internet browser is getting the windfinder prediction - I want to test my observation judged against other observations made over the last 18 years.

This is what I saw:


As indicated left in the picture is east and right is west.
Those little clouds spread in that pattern are a signal to me that the air pressure has fallen and a westerly is comming.
If I see smoke then there is a fire - it is about the same degree of: If this the that

Why did I begin looking at the cloud patterns?
Once on a trip in Mozambique myself and five other divers got up at 5 am and launched our inflatibes and headed north some 25 km to Sylvia Reef near Pomene. We did notice the streaky west to east stratus clouds but ignored that as we were diving in Mozambique, not diving Port Elizabeth.
(In Port Elizabeth those clouds meant a cold front comming)

Soon after getting to the divesite the wind came and eventually got up to about a gale. A 25 km ride strait into the wind in a gale takes its toll on divers. Bang Bang Bang and then Bang for another two hours. The next day we were all bruised and shaken as well as gazing onto a 4 m swell.
It was a huge cold front that wacked the all of South Africa and half of Mozabique. We all remember that day very clearly.
Next outing we consulte a local who predicted the wind with a glance at the sky - he was correct! Why can't I do that? There and then I decided to look up at the sky every morning or evening and still do so today. I am teaching my 4 yearold son Zephyr.
Anyway through that mishap I learned to pay a bit more attention to the cloud patterns - they tell a story of the furure - near future.

My cloudview prediction vs the Windfinder Forecast:
pressure: 1004 (low - I was correct) east to blow today up to 17 knots, 11 knot westerly due 02h00 tomorrow(Friday) morning. (also correct - I guess it may come a little sooner than 02:00 - perhaps 10 o clock tonight.

Why all the fuss about weather?
It is the key to diving conditions in South Africa.

If you can predict the diving conditions you can predict the likelyhood of success or failure on your dives.

I always try to predict in any field I get involved in - that way I can leverage my success through knowing what variables affect my performance.

Obviously my spearfishing mentorship covers such topics in great detail - 18 years of distilled experience.

My divebook (Pinnacle and Wall Divesites of Port Elizabeth - Memoirs of a Freediver) gives a model describing PE dive conditions and weather influences on the presence of fish and the likelyhood of finding them. This modeld can be adapted to most of the SA coastline.

My website has all the details of the mentorship and the divebook: see

1 comment: