Posts Tagged ‘africa’

WORLD CUP WEATHER: SOUTH AFRICA

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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WORLD CUP WEATHER: SOUTH AFRICA

The 2010 FIFA World Cup ends July 11, making it the very first World Cup to take place on African soil, and the first to take place during the winter since Argentina hosted in 1978. I’m especially excited for this World Cup. I’m a soccer fan. I’ve been to this amazing country. And its weather is fascinating. It’s a beautiful game in a beautiful place!

I visited the country at the end of Apartheid when President Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994. It was such a thrilling time for the country and I learned a lot about politics, culture, and journalism.

The purpose of my month long stay in 1994 was for the study of politics and journalism. I spent time at press conferences with Mandela leading up to the election, had an internship with Worldwide Television News to file reports, visited shanty towns that were participating in their first election ever including Soweto, and I attended a meeting with the editor of the Soweto Newspaper who was the first black Editor of a newspaper in South Africa. Attached are some photos of my visit to South Africa, most of which were the recreational moments including: riding and ostrich at Cango Wildlife Ranch, petting a cheetah in Oudtshoorn, going on Safari at Krueger Park, climbing to the top of Table Mountain, seeing the Cape of Good Hope where the Oceans meet at the tip of Africa, and more.

My professional career took a twist in my early twenties… instead of becoming a print journalist traveling the world to cover politics, I was assigned to the weather deck! (Yes, Freeze is the real last name!) I promptly took a liking to my new assignment and have spent many years covering storms and climate. However, I look back fondly to the studies I had in Africa, London, and Germany and know they have added greatly to my perspective on life… even the weather!

South Africa is a huge country. While it still struggles with its past, the scenery is unmatched. There are several climates in the same country and the landscapes range from tropical forest to desert in just an hour drive. The weather in South Africa now is Winter, since its in the Southern Hemisphere. Right Now, South Africa transitions from warm days to mild and cooler nights. In the mountains in the northeastern part of the country, temperatures can drop to near or below freezing overnight. In July, the city of Bloemfontein has an average high temperature of 63 degrees Farenheit and an average low temperature of 28 degrees Farenheit, according to the South Africa Weather Service. Cities on the coast can also be cool due to sea breeze and current. The warmest cities during the World Cup will likely be inland cities that are low in elevation.

Coastal South Africa will be in the midst of a rainy season during the tournament. The rainy season brings considerably more rainfall to the coast than to areas inland.

Cape Town averages about 3.66 inches of rain in the month of June, and 3.78 inches in July. This may not seem like a lot of rainfall, but compared to Johannesburg’s average 0.3 inches in June, there is quite a difference between the two locations.

Rainfall and temperature are not the only things players and spectators will have to deal with this time around. The altitude will be a huge factor and will likely have an effect on the ball and players’ performance. Some teams chose to undergo altitude training to acclimate to the conditions.

In 2007, a FIFA ruling declared that no international matches can be played in an elevation above 8,202 feet (which is still more than a mile high!) Although the elevation in the mountain cities of South Africa is lower than the limit, someone not used to the altitude could still be affected during this World Cup.

Since each of the 32 teams will play throughout the country, a team may play one match at sea level and play their next one more than a mile above sea level. Six of the 10 stadiums used in the tournament are situated at least 4,000 feet above sea level. To put things into perspective, both teams playing in the final match in Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, a high-altitude venue, will have played their semifinal match at sea level.

The World Cup continues in South Africa until July 11th.