Thursday 7 July 2011

Weather - what we talk about all the time...

Since our lives are controlled by the weather, I thought we should dedicate a whole blog post to it :)

by Heidi Etter

What’s the weather like in Namibia?  It is a common question asked by interns that have been accepted to the program.  The answer is it can be very fickle.  The key thing to remember is contrary to popular belief, everywhere in Africa is not hot!  Namibia is located in the southern hemisphere and the coastline is bordered by the cold, upwelling Benguela current and weather conditions are wind-driven.  And since Namibia is in the southern hemisphere, the months of the internship, June, July, and August are during the winter months. 

You would expect it to be warm in Walvis Bay, even in the winter since it is bordered by the desert, however, this is not the case.  The only time you will get warm weather here during the winter is when the east wind blows off of the desert, though this is usually accompanied by a sandstorm for part of the day.  With all of this being said, expect it to be cold…expect it to be even colder on the boat on the water. 

Perfect example of the weather conditions…the other week starting on Sunday, we had beautiful weather because an east wind was blowing…the sun was shining…we were on the boat in flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts (well some of us were)! Then bring on Tuesday…the wind changed to the southwest and we were freezing! Layers of thermals, fleeces, jackets, warm hats, etc. you get the point!  Everyone’s noses looked like Rudolph the reindeer because they were so red from the cold.  Out at sea on Wednesday, the morning started out with three layers of clothing, it was foggy and windy and we were drinking coffee to stay warm.  By  the afternoon, it was nice and sunny but the wind had picked up to 13 knots  making for a bumpy and chilly ride home. However, once on shore because it was sheltered and the sun was radiating its heat on us…we decided to go for a refreshing afternoon swim.  To sum up that experience…imagine a polar plunge…it was shocking to the body cold.

So to answer everyone’s questions on what the weather is like in Namibia…nobody knows…not even the weather forecasters because they are always getting it wrong.  Prepare for cold and hot weather conditions…it just depends on which way the wind is blowing, literally!
Satellite photo of the east wind blowing sand out to sea - taken in June last year

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