Understanding Weather – not predicting – 08 March 2013

What happened?
As this past week unfolded, the unpromising cloud situation persisted. It certainly matched what weather charts were telling us. However, there was a glimmer of hope. A slender middle layer cloud band was frequently appearing on both satellite images as well as supported by the airflow charts for the northeastern parts.
This meant there was a semblance of an input which would tap the persistent moist air presence quite close to our borders. This is not the first time this has loomed, so the optimism remained muted. By Monday, some cumiliform cloud developed by early afternoon with bits and pieces indicating active turbulence, but this was limited; still development continued. Later the cloud development was showing widespread activity with a storm area developing north of Windhoek.
Then came the lightning: a key for a real thunderstorm; There was, across a half-hour spell, continued reverberation as the storm built to levels much above those of our recent experience.
Satellite images indicated a broadening cloud intrusion above central (from north to south) Namibia while extending to the west. Intermittent outbreaks of rain were occurring within this cloud band. Overnight clearance was limited, airflow charts were showing a more profound advection. Afternoon development recurred.