Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Heinous Crime of Weather Forecasting


Albeit that I would personally vote against it, I do to some extent understand why the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs wants to prohibit the issuing (or publication) of warnings of severe weather without written permission from the South African Weather Service (SAWS). See Article

Weather most certainly affects human behaviour and the last thing we need are people preparing for hurricane conditions on the say so of some Derek Van Dam wannabe, whose data is determined by the windsock hanging from his balcony. By the same token, if Bob the Builder chooses to believe Windsock Derek who has, via his twitter feed, predicted mild weather and a heat wave occurs, people on Bob’s building site could die from heat exhaustion, so the consequences could prove severe.

The legislation should in essence serve to prevent people acting on amateur information, which I suspect is the thinking behind it. Personally, if some clued-up young propeller head firmly believes catastrophic conditions are heading my way, I would want him to be able to shout it from the roof tops without fear of consequence.

What makes it absolutely absurd, is that the proposed penalty for this heinous offence, is a maximum fine of R10million or 30 years in prison. So yes, illegal broadcasting of severe weather conditions may end up carrying a far greater sentence than fraud, robbery and murder.

Ernest Roper
Durban Regional Manager

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