Six die in Kwa-Zulu-Natal floods as COP17 begins

Posted: November 29, 2011 by tallbloke in atmosphere, Politics, weather

What is it with International Climate Jamborees and unseasonal weather? Two years ago Copenhagen got an early blast of wintry storms. Last year Cancun shivered in temperatures 9C below average. Now Durban gets flooded as the show gets underway.

According to the South Africa Weather Bureau, 2.5 inches of rain fell last night in Durban, which had already recorded 8.2 inches for November, almost double its average. It’s forecast to continue persisting it down all week. Awww, and I bet all the delegates had sun lotion with them rather than brollies… It’s almost like Nature has decided that climatologists and policy wonks won’t get any fun out of holding their conferences in exotic locations.

From The Mail and Guardian online:

A violent storm killed six people in Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Sunday night and destroyed scores of homes.

The extreme weather, which struck hours before the opening of the UN climate change conference in Durban, caused flooding and widespread damage.

Sunday night’s deaths brought the number of people killed by floods in KwaZulul-Natal to 11 in less than two weeks. Last week, five people died in the province due to heavy rains.

KwaZulu-Natal cooperative governance department spokesperson Mthatheni Mabaso said seven people were killed in Umlazi and Clermont townships, south and west of the city, on Sunday night.

“We have been told they died when their houses collapsed. We have also been told that about 100 homes were flooded and damaged in Isipingo,” he said on Monday.

According to paramedics another man, aged 44, was found under the rubble of his house in Quarry Heights, Durban, early on Monday morning. The house collapsed on Sunday night, Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said.

Homes were also flooded in Durban’s affluent areas such as Umhlanga and Newlands.

“This shows that even the posh areas are not spared of the effects of climate change,” said Mabaso.

  1. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Gaia knows them 🙂

  2. Roger Andrews says:

    “What is it with International Climate Jamborees and unseasonal weather? Two years ago Copenhagen got an early blast of wintry storms. Last year Cancun shivered in temperatures 9C below average. Now Durban gets flooded as the show gets underway.”

    There’s nothing unseasonal about summer floods in Durban. KwaZulu-Natal is in fact one of the most flood-prone areas on earth, with major floods recorded there in 1874, 1891, 1908, 1913, 1917, 1918, 1925, 1932, 1940, 1959, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2008 and January 2011. (Ladysmith, about 100 miles NW of Durban, may have been the most flood-prone city on earth before they built a containment dam. Between 1887 and 1997 it experienced no fewer than 29 “serious” floods, an average of one every 3.8 years.)

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the Kyoto Mafia picked Durban in the hope that COP17 would coincide with yet another flood that they could blame on CO2. As it happened it did, and they have. But if it hadn’t they would still have been able to celebrate what hopefully will be the last of their ridiculous conferences in agreeable surroundings.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Hmm, 3.8 years eh?


  4. tchannon says:

    “DURBAN, South Africa – Global warming already is causing suffering and conflict in Africa, from drought in Sudan and Somalia to flooding in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said Monday, urging delegates at an international climate conference to look beyond national interests for solutions.”
    — USAtoday

    “August 20, 2007(KHARTOUM) — The death toll from serious flooding in Sudan has risen to 87 people, government officials said Monday, as the European Commission announced it had distributed EUR2 million to those affected by the disaster.” — Sudan Tribune

    “Could Durban be facing a Drought?

    Posted on 19 September 2011. Tags: catchment, drinking water, drought, Durban, sewer, water, Water Rhapsody

    Durban: The city that never has drought – right?

    Wrong. Durban has had the worst of droughts.

    The Weather during 1997 / 8 was dry in the catchmentareas supplying water to Durban and in the city of Durban itself

    1988 saw the end of a drought in the catchment areas supplying Durban which was about as bad as we have seen anywhere. ” —

  5. Roger Andrews says:

    And if the conferees had arrived in Durban in the middle of a drought they could have blamed that on AGW too.

    TB. Is there something special about 3.8 years?

  6. tallbloke says:

    I’m guessing that over the period you defined, it’s pretty close to the average ENSO cycle.

  7. Roy Martin says:

    tallbloke says:
    “Hmm, 3.8 years eh?”
    Roger Andrews says:
    “TB. Is there something special about 3.8 years?”

    The following is a quote from the Summary of a CYCLES Report for June-July 1955, by Edward R. Dewey on research work done by one Dr. Leonard W. Wing:-

    “Using all of the 250-odd temperature records in World Weather Records covering more than forty years, he finds that the additional stations corroborate the results obtained from the 97 stations studied last year. The cycle highs (and lows) for each cycle studied (3.767, 4.222 and 4.418 years) appear at first in the polar regions and pass over the face of the globe, simultaneously in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The departures from the normal passage time show what may be a land mass effect rather similar to what is generally considered as a land mass effects upon terrestrial magnetism.”

    Is 3.767 close enough to 3.8? (Cumulative difference is only 0.96 years over 29 cycles.)

    Some years ago I identified a clear cycle of ~ four years period that appeared periodically in rainfall over the greater Melbourne area. That almost certainly is related to the passage of warm and cool pools of SST embedded in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

    The answer to Roger’s question seems to be: yes.

  8. Eilert says:


    That is the ENSO cycle. Rainfall patterns in Southern Africa follow the El Nino (below normal rain) – La Nina (above normal rain) patterns very closely.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Current ENSO is showing a resurgence of La Nina, in line with Eilert’s comment – more rainfall.
    I’ve marked Roger’s flood years on here:

    I think we may be in the middle of a 1974-1976type event.

  10. Roger Andrews says:

    We started with a discussion of floods in Durban and COP17 and already we have plots of ENSO against the solar cycle.

    And the earlier thread about GHCN station changes ended with a plot of the HadSST3 corrections superimposed on Otto von Bismarck’s pickelhaube.

    No shortage of imaginative contributions on this here blog. 🙂

  11. tallbloke says:

    We’re investigating claims made by warmists that the floods in Durban are likely a result of ‘global warming’.

    Not looking good for them at the moment. 🙂