oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Volksweervoorspelling in Outeniekwa
Official weather forecasters frequently suffer severe criticism due to the fluctuating results of their predictions which according to the general public, have an extremely varying and inconsistent success rate. The question arises whether it is at all possible for the layman to claim that he has a higher success rate in forecasting the weather. The educated weather forecaster has the added advantage of having a diverse selection of technical and scientific resources at his disposal. The layman, on the other hand, only observes the natural signs and phenomena in his immediate environment. Outeniqualand, the area surrounding George in the southern Cape has a very interesting weather pattern. There are various factors relating to the region's geography, which complicate the task of the weather forecasters, for example, the distance from the mountain to the sea, the berg wind conditions which can change very quickly and the direction of the wind which is also difficult to predict correctly. The inhabitants of this region have, however been observing these weather patterns for generations. Under specific conditions they can interpret certain weather signs with remarkable accuracy. When an approaching front, promising rain, is not as yet visible, the high moisture content in the air is revealed by, amongst other things, the behaviour of certain animals and birds as well as by closely observing the various sounds in nature. The very prominent Outeniqua Mountain also displays specific weather phenomena which are excellent guidelines for laymen weather forecasters to follow.
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