Drakensberg weather sites

30 Jul 2010 11:46 #1526 by intrepid
This is a thread to list and discuss all sites (or even phone-in numbers) that offer weather / current conditions reports for the Drakensberg. Increasingly I come across different sites that offer something, and the good old SA Weather Service has moved towards a paid subscription service. Would be nice to have all the alternatives listed, and also an ongoing evaluation of the accuracy and usefulness of various reports, also to understand where the data from these reports comes from.

So, I'll add to this myself later, but let's hear it from the rest of you!

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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30 Jul 2010 12:44 #1527 by anthony
Replied by anthony on topic Drakensberg weather sites
I now use weather 24 or the cathedral peak hotel web cam or the tiffindell web cam which is quiet use full.It will be interesting to see what comes of this thread as weather is a struggle for the berg, i also phone Witsieshoek.

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30 Jul 2010 13:39 - 30 Jul 2010 13:41 #1528 by Stijn
Replied by Stijn on topic Drakensberg weather sites
www.windguru.com

Once you've registered (free), you can make your own custom spots using Google Maps and it gives you a forecast for that spot (averaged from the closest grid forecasts). They have 7-day forecasts but I have found that they only get accurate a few days in advance. And by accurate, I mean scarily so! The site gives 3-hour intervals for temp, rain, high/med/low cloud cover, wind speed & direction.

I think the main reason I find it so reliable is that it's much better at describing the forecast to you due to the wealth of information presented than a simple "partly cloudy 30% thunderstorms" type of forecast. It also takes spot altitude into account, so if you mark a spot on the escarpment, the forecasted temps will be about 10 degrees lower than the forecasts for Cathedral Peak Hotel, for example.

e.g. From these forecasts, you can tell that between 11am and 2pm they predict 3mm of rain, 0% high cloud cover, 0% medium cloud cover & 70% low cloud cover. In the berg, this means you're probably going to be above a sea of clouds in beautiful sunshine on the escarpment.

And no, I don't get commission! :laugh:
Last edit: 30 Jul 2010 13:41 by Stijn.

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30 Jul 2010 14:52 #1529 by JonWells
Replied by JonWells on topic Drakensberg weather sites
I find I've never really been able to get accurate weather forecasts for the Berg during summer months. Once the SA Weather Service predicted no rain, and we had torrential downpours and hail at times. Another time we almost cancelled a hike as they were issuing warnings for heavy rains and flooding in the area. We took a risk, and it didnt rain a drop!! So now days I take any summer forecasts with a pinch of salt!

One good thing is that winter weather is pretty much very predictable, either its sunny blue skies, or its a cold front, which can be predicted quite accurately. One can check the Underberg forecast for temperatures, but minimum temperatures under stable winter conditions can be quite variable according to topography. It seems Underberg minimum temperatures represent the coldest temperatures which will be found in the temperature inversions in the area, so if youre not camped deep in the bottom of a flat valley, the minimum temperatures are likely to be a good couple degrees higher than Underberg.

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01 Aug 2010 15:28 - 01 Aug 2010 15:30 #1533 by Serious tribe
Here is a site i bumped into the other day, am not sure where it obtains its info from. It looks quite interesting though.


www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Giants-Castle/forecasts/2500
Last edit: 01 Aug 2010 15:30 by Serious tribe. Reason: put in whole string for giants castle

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01 Aug 2010 20:54 #1536 by UnKnowN
Replied by UnKnowN on topic Drakensberg weather sites
Thanks Stijn, that will be really usefull for the future :-)

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02 Aug 2010 11:38 #1538 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Drakensberg weather sites
Giants Castle weather seems to be featured on a number of sites, since there is a met station in the area. The predictions do vary though.

mountain-forecast.com (which I also stumbled into recently), is nifty in that it shows temps for 3 different altitudes. The predictions seem to be triangulated from all the surrounding met stations:
www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Giants-Castle/metar

These 3 are identical and the data format seems to be that of the SA Weather Bureau (which you now have to pay for):
www.iolweather.co.za/getforecast/102
www.shellinfosight.com/weather/SouthAfrica/KwaZulu-Natal/GiantsCastle/68589
www.yellowpages.co.za/weatherdetails.jsp?city=Giants%20Castle&forecast=true

News24 is similar to the above, but not identical...they may have their own calculations.
weather.news24.com/Forecasts.aspx?loc=SA&cityId=801235

Weather Underground seems to do its own calculations too:
www.wunderground.com/global/stations/68589.html?MR=1
This is the source for the feed listed on this site:
www.vertical-endeavour.com/news-feeds/58-drakensberg/28-giants-castle-weather.html
Nice in that is show actual, current conditions too.

An interesting one:
www.kznlive.com/KwaZulu_Natal_Weather/Kzn_weather_Giants_Castle.htm
The source is AccuWeather.com but I can't seem to get more details on Giants Castle directly on their site.

WindGuru for a custom point at Giants Castle Camp gives nice details, though the minimum temps run slightly higher than that of the SA Weather Bureau - difficult to compare though since it is so spot specific and not for the whole area (same with mountain-forecast.com).

This seems a little off:
www.weatheronline.co.uk/SouthAfrica/GiantsCastle.htm

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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04 Aug 2010 14:26 #1556 by firephish
Replied by firephish on topic Drakensberg weather sites
yr.no (norwegean weather service - of all places) is usually really accurate:

www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Lotheni/long.html

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16 Aug 2010 16:13 #1588 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Drakensberg weather sites
Been very intrigued by that Norwegian weather site, and why they listed Lotheni of all places. It became even more interesting when I started punching in names into their search box. These are listings I have found so far:

Drakensberg in Free State www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/Free_State/Drakensberg/ (seems to be referring to the Great Escarpment which branches off the main Berg and heads up towards Mpumalanga)

Giants Castle: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Giants_Castle/ (does not seem identical to any of the Giants Castle links listed earlier).

Himeville: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Himeville/

RNNP: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Royal_Natal_National_Park/

Drakensberg Gardens: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Drakensberg_Garden/

Bergville: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Bergville/

Winterton: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Winterton/

Mnweni Pass: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Mnweni_Pass/

Mnweni Pinnacles: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Mnweni_Pinnacles/

Organ Pipes: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Organ_Pipes/

Phuthaditjhaba: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/Free_State/Phuthaditjhaba/

Golden Gate: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/Free_State/Golden_Gate_Highlands_National_Park/

Sehlabathebe: www.yr.no/place/Lesotho/Other/Sehlabathebe/

Vergelegen: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Vergelegen_Nature_Reserve/

Cobham: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Cobham_State_Forest/

Sani Pass: www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/KwaZulu-Natal/Sani_Pass/

OK, so there might be a lot more. Anyone else find any other interesting places relating to the Berg listed on this weather site, feel free to post them. I wonder if this site works in a similar way that Wind Guru does? :huh:

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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16 Aug 2010 18:34 - 16 Aug 2010 18:35 #1589 by drsnoobab
Replied by drsnoobab on topic Drakensberg weather sites
Speaking of Windguru, I recently signed up and was quite impressed by the extent to which you can customise to your own requirements, including create custom spots and custom forecasts (for multiple locations) based on lat/long/alt. Was down at Golden Gate recently and was generally comfortable with the forecast although no doubt some extensive field testing in the 'berg would prove valuable. As an example I have created the following spot based on the co-ords of the summit hut at the Amphitheatre. The numbers appear reasonable at first sight but would be interested to see how accurate, unfortunately no trip planned soon !

Mont-Aux-Sources
Last edit: 16 Aug 2010 18:35 by drsnoobab.

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