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Weekly weather overview and short-term outlook to Wednesday 22 January 2020

Weekly weather overview and short-term outlook to Wednesday 22 January 2020

Visual: Animation of lightning over southern Africa on Friday 17 January for a one-hour window.

Source: AfricaWeather . This material can be accessed on a non-subscription basis by selecting Storms in the drop-down menu on the homepage, then clicking on lightning and pressing the play button to activate the animation.

Recent Developments

For most of the week overall weather conditions were rather static with little change from the beginning of the week up to Wednesday night. Moisture continued to enter Namibian airspace from Western Zambia and southern Angola but local conditions were not very conducive due to weak upper level high pressure control.

The result was widely scattered falls of brief duration and medium intensity across a very large part of Namibia but favouring the north-western quadrant, the central high ground and some isolated spots in the south. The general pattern everywhere was the same with falls up to 5mm in some areas and zero just five kilometres away. Convection remained depressed with very little lightning and where there was some thunder shower development, the storm did not last ten minutes.

As the week progressed, the South Atlantic high pressure cell grew in intensity, reaching a core reading of 1028 mB by Thursday. Fortunately the core was more or less in its regular position about 1000 km west of Saldanha Bay so the local impact was limited.

On the eastern side, the southern Indian high was fairly week, registering a core reading earlier in the week of only 1016 mB with the core somewhat further south than normal, just hugging the 40°S latitude.

The distance between the two highs’ cores was also relatively big allowing space over the sub-continent’s interior for lower pressure conditions to develop on the surface.

But a South Atlantic high of such strength does not go without local effect. By Friday the South Atlantic high’s core has built up to 1036 mB (a winter reading) and some strong winds, up to 30 knots, were recorded at the 1024 mB isobar, roughly 600 km west of Oranjemund.

This meant that the high pushed far northward along the Namibian coastline, recurving back onto the mainland more ore less at the Kunene river mouth. This led to clear skies over southern Angola and reduced moisture over Namibia’s northern regions.

In the meantime, the system that brought in moisture at the mid-levels (12,000 to 22,000 feet) earlier in the week, was pushed to the east by the Angolan intrusion of the South Atlantic high, running from Western Zambia through central Botswana in a due south direction, entering the northern Cape east of Ariamsvlei.

The combination of the strong south-to north wind along the coast and the fresh north-to-south flow through Botswana created a phenomenon that is not often observed. By Thursday night a weak cyclonic circulation has formed over southern Botswana, drawing in moisture from far north (Zambia) and circulating it into Namibian airspace from the south-east. As it moved into Namibian airspace from the east, it encountered the leading rim of the South Atlantic high (active on the surface) and a very large convergence zone formed.

This was best witnessed during Friday as shown by this week’s visual of the numerous lightning strikes recorded by satellite in only one hour.

This development, despite only favouring the southern half of the country up to the escarpment, is a positive sign for the rest of the season. It shows that as soon as mid and alto level high pressure control subsides, there is the potential for an active convergence zone to form, leading to enhanced convection, thunderstorms developing over large areas, and productive rainfall.

On the Radar

The South Atlantic high is expected to stay strong as it migrates around Cape Agulhas, however, it is not expected to move fast. In fact it is expected to remain south of the continent for the entire outlook period.

The high’s outer rim makes landfall somewhere during Friday night covering most of South Africa’s western coastline but the cyclonic circulation that started over southern Botswana keeps growing in strength, moving into the Northern Cape and from there move in a wide curve through the Karoo until it eventually reaches the ocean where it is expected to form a so-called cut-off low.

The high’s northward push will bring cloudy, wet conditions to Oranjemund on Saturday perhaps lingering into Sunday and pushing up the Orange River valley, possibly as far as Noordoewer. This system’s northern extension may even reach Lüderitz during Saturday.

For the rest of the country, rainfall prospects are not very favourable with all the outlooks predicting a relatively dry week for the Namibian interior.

The effect of the offshore cut-off low must however not be underestimated. Depending on its strength and its position relative to the mainland, it may draw in more Zambian moisture through Botswana, which has the potential to produce some startling surprises in the central east and south-eastern quadrant along the Botswana and South African borders.


About The Author


In Memoriam. The weekly weather column is maintained in honour of the legacy of John Olszewski, the widely respected and well-known weatherman of Namibia. After writing the weather column for more than twelve years, he has left an indelible mark at the Economist, and the technical ability among the editorial staff to "read" the maps that he used so often. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.