SAWS becoming Unafordable

South African Weather Service.

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tanglefoot
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by tanglefoot » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:17 pm

wynand wrote:Andrew
I was asking about the amount: You say R25. Is it not R250?......
Found this while battling the labyrinth called weathersa.co.za:
What happens if I am an R25/m subscriber?
Due to the fact that all suburbs are now free we are leaving you on R25/m but have upgraded you to the R40/m SMS service as a thank you for your loyalty (Ed: I think they mean sucker). You are welcome to opt out using the SMS code you received, but if you stick around please go to 'settings' and set your suburb and level of SMS notices.


[self edited, for now]
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by wynand » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:01 pm

Hee hee.
I quite liked your comment before you edited it. I wouldn't use it, though.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by tanglefoot » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:30 pm

Hi Wynand,

My edited post two up refers. I finally found a moment to do some annotating. Attached below is the graph from the "free" site that got my moer meter in the red.

First problem is to decide if the blue or red is the wind direction (The green line represents my annotated wind direction). One can assume that the red numbers on the right tie up with the red line but then it would seem logical that the blue shaded area ties up with some blue numbers on the left. This not being the case I will just make the assumption based on the fact that the idiotic red squiggles represent something more coherent.

Next problem is to decide if the marker represents the start of the day or the middle of the day (could even be the end of the day, I suppose). If you are presenting cr@p then it probably doesn't matter. I decided that it looks like the beginning of the day 00h00SAST (not that it matters now, but it WILL matter next wednesday afternoon when I plot the historical metars for FAJS against the forecast below).

The forecast being the Johannesburg Kempton Park 7 day forecast as of today, not that this can ever be confirmed by anyone as there is no identification on the graph. I could have done a full screen capture but either just believe me or go and have a look yourself. It is quite intuitive (NOT). You select Johannesburg Kempton Park as "MyTown". There is a bar graph called "Morning fog, day cloud, evening fog (% risk/cover)" that I can't figure out. You click for "More weekly graphs". Then, you change the little pulldown thingy from "temperature" to "wind" and HEY PRESTO, you are there in an instant. Try it :!:

Does WeatherSA REALLY mean to imply that the wind shifts from 350 to 020 by travelling 330deg around the compass (TWICE every day) or just the 30deg swing that happens in real life (added in a shaky green line to represent my total disbelief :shock:, not so much to represent actual wind changes :) ).

What direction is Mrs Housewife supposed to hang her washing in to get the best effect? (after all, this graph is for her benefit)

Surely the information offered up by weathersa is just patently wrong. :? WEATHERSA, through their total lack of oversight of their less than competent consultants are offering incorrect information to the public. This is not the only example but without a lucrative contract I'm stuffed if I'm going to sift through the rest of the cr@p.

If this is what is offered for free I feel that I can wait a while before paying to see what is behind the login screen.

wind fajs.jpg
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by FAPE » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:24 pm

Dear Tanglewood.

After careful consideration of the graphics, I have come to the conclusion that your moermeter is in perfect working order. There is no need for re-callibration. :)
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by tanglefoot » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:42 pm

Well, taking the same graph as last week and plotting the metars for FAJS on a 6 hourly basis I fail to see ANY correlation with wind speed and very little correlation with wind direction.

I'd say that a precursor to paying for any data would be if weathersa went to some trouble to prove to aviators (and the general public that their forecasts held some validity, at least some of the time. Historic Metars obtained from http://www.ogimet.com/display_metars.ph ... &send=send

I also downloaded the longrange forecasts from yr.no and weatherguru last week thursday. If I get a chance I would find it interesting to superimpose the metars on them.
wind fajs 20111213.jpg
....and superimposed on my annotated weathersa graph......
wind fajs 20111213(2).jpg
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by RudiGreyling » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:36 am

I like it, someone checking the accuracy of the forecast :twisted:
The graphs are a nice way to see the accuracy...Well done!
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SAWS becoming unaffordable

Unread post by kalahariB » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:52 pm

Jailtime mooted for bad weather warnings

I meant to post the article here, but ended up being in General Aviation. Here is the link to the article in case anyone missed it.

http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/ ... r-warnings
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by tanglefoot » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:51 pm

Here is the next correlation.

I've used the same SAWS forecast as above. I've removed the actual wind speeds to try to make the graph more readable.

The red line is the SAWS seven day forecast for the period in question. The green line is my attempt to make sense of the SAWS forecast. The orange circles are the actual wind directions taken from the METARS for FAJS.

I have plotted the Windguru 7 day forecast for Rietvlei dam South East of Pretoria in green circles.

Is it my imagination or does the windguru forecast appear "more" accurate :?: Remember, the red lines and green dots are forecasts and the orange dots are actuals.
wind fajs 20120110.jpg
windguru.jpg
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by kalahariB » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:17 am

MEDIA STATEMENT

CONCERNS OVER SEVERE WEATHER OR AIR POLLUTION-RELATED WARNING PROVISIONS OF THE CURRENT SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE AMENDMENT BILL

12 JANUARY 2012

In May 2011, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs published the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill for public comment. Having taken into account the few public comments, a revised Bill was introduced in the National Assembly of Parliament and an explanatory summary of the Bill was published at the end of September last year. Although the formal public comment period on the initial draft Bill closed some time ago, the Bill is now being considered by Parliament and Parliament is planning to hold public hearings in the next few weeks.

Over the last two weeks, the amendments to the South African Weather Service (SAWS) Act proposed in the SAWS Amendment Bill appear to have become the subject of concern.
In particular, the concerns appear to relate specifically to a proposed provision that prohibits the issue of “…a severe weather or air pollution-related warning without the necessary written permission from the Weather Service” and especially the possible penalty of up to R10 million or 10 years imprisonment for persons found guilty of contravening this provision.

These provisions are sincere attempts to ensure that all South Africans are protected against false, misleading and/or hoax warnings that can result, and have resulted, in undue public panic, related stress and injury, evacuations and/or the mobilisation of emergency services and subsequent fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Furthermore, since its establishment, the South African Weather Services has always been the only official provider of “…severe weather-related warnings for South Africa in order to ensure that there is a single authoritative voice in this regard”. Indeed, it is only the proposal to make this 11 year old provision enforceable that is now causing concern. In other words, although it has effectively been illegal for anyone other than SAWS to issue severe weather-related warnings for South Africa since 2001, it is only now that there are possible criminal consequences for illegal warnings that are being proposed, that concerns are being raised.

To further put these provisions into our current context – one of the accepted impacts of climate change is the possible increase in the frequency, intensity and range of extreme weather events. In order to ensure that we build our resilience to these impacts, we must ensure that our warning systems are efficient, effective and, most importantly, credible. With the real possibility of increasing extreme weather events, the potential for false, misleading and/or hoax warnings significantly undermining public confidence in, and/or appropriate public reaction to, warnings is of real concern.

However, it is also clear from various comments that these proposed provisions are perceived in some quarters as going way beyond its intention as indicated above. It is suggested by commentators that the proposed amendment may actually limit access to weather and air pollution-related information that is in the interest of the general public’s health, safety and well-being.

As Parliament has now called for another round of public comment by 12 January 2012, it is highly likely, given these recent concerns around the Bill, that Parliament will request the department to review the perceived problem provisions. Naturally the department will then take a very close look at these concerns and will revert to Parliament with its findings and recommendations.

One of the important lessons from this is that active public participation is fundamental to good law-making and, if indeed the Bill’s honest attempts to protect South Africans from the potential harmful impacts of false, misleading and/or hoax warnings turn out to have unintended negative consequences that can be addressed in the final amendment, then it will be the public who must be thanked for their interest and involvement. Members of the public are accordingly urged to not only criticise the current draft, but to possibly propose alternative wording to ensure that the intention as indicated above is achieved.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS ON 12 JANUARY 2012
Ivo Vegter on Thu, 12 Jan 2012 at 21:5
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by kalahariB » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:20 am

From: stormchasing.co.za

The South African Weather Service Amendment Bill
Written by Administrator
Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:53

As I am sure many of you know if you've been keeping an eye on the news, the new South African Weather Service Amendment Bill which seeks to censor sites like this, has come under great scrutiny. Personally, I think it's great that so many large names are getting behind the cause to fight a bill that would censor areas that people don't really think of all that often.

I have been in contact with www.weather.co.za who is going to be attending the Parliamentary public hearings on the bill next week. And I have requested he be the representative speaker for me and stormchasing.co.za while there and asked that he present the following piece on my behalf.


Storm Chasing South Africa is a private non-profit website founded in 2009 as a personal expansion of a hobby and interest of mine, namely severe weather. I provide articles based on my opinion of what the weather may be doing. At no stage in my articles do I claim that my information is official and in no way do I seek to cause alarm or spread misinformation. I also provide an online forum where users are able to discuss upcoming weather events and severe weather threats, also in an environment that nowhere claims to be official information.

The SA Weather Service amendment bill includes the ban of the general public or other meteorological agencies issuing severe weather warnings, while I can see how this can easily be manipulated into sounding as though the bill will be doing the general favour to the public by removing hoax e-mails and fake stories about upcoming severe weather events, it in fact is just the monopolization of meteorological information.

Firstly I'd like to bring attention to the wording used in the bill. The new amendments within the bill under section 30 and in particular section 30(a) are far too broad. It states no person may issue a severe weather warning without the necessary written permission of the Weather Service. The issue here is that a severe weather warning is a blanket term which has not been described in enough detail for it to be understood. If I were to make a post on my website with the content mentioning the potential for thunderstorms, would that be included in the bills definition of a severe weather warning? Would I be prosecuted? What if I was to say that it looks like there is going to be a heatwave? Under this bill, one is forced to refrain from the publication of any kind of weather information that may be of interest.

I'd now like to bring attention to how the weather services are operated in other countries, for example the United States. In the United States of America, the government sponsored environmental websites such as www.weather.gov operate free of charge to the public, where their intention is the safety of U.S citizens. The U.S has a similar law in place as the one proposed in the South African Weather bill, but with one fundamental differences, while in the United States only the National Weather Service may issue official severe weather warnings, the general public and other weather agencies still have the legal right to issue their own warnings.

Another outlandish clause in the bill is that it will be illegal to spread "false or misleading information about the South African Weather Service". That sentence sums up the amendment bill pretty accurately. It is a clear indication that it's not safety or integrity of information that the South African Weather Service is worried about, it's about becoming an untouchable monopoly that can be corrupt and flawed to any degree but at the same time an untouchable entity. Who would determine if the information is false and misleading, most likely a judge. What this does, is use fear into scaring people into making sure that they never criticize the Weather Service and that doing so may land them in jail or even just in court.

I see no evidence that this bill or the South African Weather Service are trying to increase safety and awareness, The reason for the bill, in all likeliness is to create a monopoly that would allow for a single channel of uninterrupted revenue. If this bill were to be passed, it would mean that there would be no alternative for information to the general public, they would be forced to use the South African Weather Service. The South African Weather Service over the years has become increasingly profit orientated, something that contradicts the ideas of increasing safety among the public. For anyone who has been a frequent visitor to the South African Weather Service website, as I have, over the past 10 years, you would have seen the shift it took from being a source of information to a business model. The website has undergone several redesigns in the past 10 years, each redesign lending itself to easier income, while each redesign also limiting the amount of free information. As an official weather service who's responsibilities are to protect the public, I see no place for a business model - unless only those wealthy enough to afford the insane costs of membership are worth protection.

As I touched on earlier, I am no stranger to the annoying hoax e-mails that get passed along with the South African Weather Service logo on them, and I whole heartedly agree that it's something that must be handled and punished. But there is a huge gap between impersonating the South African Weather Service and forecasting severe weather unofficially, especially since vast majority of us that do it unofficially offer disclaimers stating that we are not an official source.

There is large support for the bill being scrapped and media sources all over publishing content on the ludicrous nature of the bill. If it were truly imperative to safety and well being of the public, one would imagine that the public themselves would come out in support of the bill, instead of rallying behind how it's just another form of censorship and monopolization with some going so far as to describe it as a breach of the constitution, which would probably be an accurate statement.

In closing I'd like people to think about the bill and the reasons behind it. If you are looking to increase the safety of the general public, this bill is not how one is going to achieve that. All this bill will do is monopolize meteorology in South Africa, it will censor weather enthusiasts, it will turn what should be awareness into a complete business model and ultimately it will make the country look like a joke internationally. As stated in opening, I make no money from my website, I stand to lose nothing financially. But I am unable to sit back and have my interests and opinions censored so that a corporation can turn over a good profit. I, along with the others involved in local weather related sites have poured thousands of hours of work and money to bring a service to the public and provide a free platform to communicate.

I have faith that it will be as easy as it is to me to see the flaws and ludicrousy in this bill and the unwarranted censorship that it will enforce.

I urge everyone else able to make it to the hearings next week to please do so and voice your concern over this bill.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:59
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by ZS1I » Tue May 15, 2012 7:10 am

US has started issuing severe weather text alerts to the public, much like the SA Weather Service does. Except.... It's FREE !!!!

Wireless carriers and the federal government are launching a system to automatically warn people of dangerous weather and other emergencies via a special type of text messaging to cellphones.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service, which begins this month, is free, and consumers won't have to sign up. Warnings will be location-based: If you're traveling, you'll get an alert for whatever emergency is happening where you are.

"Wireless carriers representing more than 97 percent of subscribers voluntarily agreed to develop and offer free, geographically targeted wireless emergency alerts," said Amy Storey, spokeswoman for the CTIA -- The Wireless Association. AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are participating.

Alerts for many weather events

Alerts will be issued for such life-threatening events as tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, dust storms, extreme winds, blizzards and ice storms.

"These text alerts will be very brief, under 90 characters," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan, "and are intended to prompt people to immediately seek additional information through the wide range of weather alert communications available to them, such as the Internet, television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio."

She said alerts about very dangerous situations such as tornadoes will give advice such as "seek shelter immediately."

WEA can also issue AMBER Alerts for missing children and Presidential Alerts for national emergencies. People can opt out of AMBER and Weather Alerts but not Presidential Alerts.

An alert will look like a text, but the system uses a different technology that isn't subject to congestion or wireless network delays, the CTIA said.

"This is another great way of receiving warnings immediately, just like weather radio and other sources," weather service spokesman Chris Vaccaro said.

- By Doyle Rice | USA Today

ZS1I - THIS IS HOW IT MUST BE DONE!! Weather Alerts free of charge to the general public. It shows that the US renders a weather service and not a pay as you go service. The US have the safety of its citizens at heart, other than South Africa who force their citizens to pay for weather alerts and info. Man I really cannot understand the logic of paying for any weather information. I would like to congratulate the US in their open minded approach to weather alerts. The SAWS should learn from the US in this regard and how to render a free service to the public. However money is more important than people lives in South Africa. In South Africa we must pay for weather alerts and radar images to stay alive!!
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