Green Fingers with Rain in his Bones

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If a cloud sits on his roof, and a twitch goes up to his knee, he knows it will rain.

New Era spoke to a passionate follower of the clouds, Wulf Kannegiesser.

By Catherine Sasman

WINDHOEK

Wulf Kannegiesser puts his left leg on a small coffee table in his lounge where he has been following a game of rugby on his small television screen.

When it rains, like it has over the three weeks in the capital, Kannegiesser feels it in his ankle and knee.

“When the clouds come up I feel it here,” he shows, rubbing his now swollen ankle. “Sometimes it gets so bad I have to put my foot up like now.”

He said he has been warning all and sundry who cared to listen that this year would bring exceptional rains. He can sense it in his bones at least three weeks in advance. Then a pain, together with the swelling, circles from ankle to knee.

And when clouds form right above his roof, he knows the rain will come in showers, he gestures as he jumps up excitedly from his sofa and looks outside his large window to see if there are any cloud developments.

There is more to Kannegiesser’s sensitivity to rain. He has been following every drop of rain that has passed his house in Suiderhof meticulously and without fail for the last 24 years.

This information he gathers for the Weather Bureau at the Hosea Kutako International Airport.

“My father was a farmer in the Khomas Hochland area and he would also gather information for the Weather Bureau. As a child I would always look over his shoulder to see what he was doing. He always asked me what I was doing and I told him I would like to continue with this. I just took it from there,” says Kannegiesser.

At some point during the discussion, Kannegiesser who has settled back onto the couch throws his head back dramatically and groans with pain in his leg, clutching in his right hand an old comfort handkerchief.

“It can sometimes get really bad,” he says in a heavy, slow manner.

He keeps his statistics in two books in which he registers the amount of rain on any given day and the enumerated days it rained per month, and the highest rainfall received in that month. He also records “drops” if there was a sprinkle, and dust storms.

According to his statistics, we have by far received more rain than all the 24 years that he has so far recorded – keeping in mind, he said, that this year’s rainy season is far from over.

This year, he recorded 105.5 millimetres in January (compared to last year’s 60.5 mm). In February as much as 226.5 mm have fallen over 20 days with a 45 mm reading as the highest. Last year’s figure seems paltry at 17 mm which fell over five days, with the highest reading then at 5 mm. For March, he recorded 173.5 mm so far that has fallen over a solid 10 days. The highest reading he took was 60 mm (on March 13).

Although he cannot say if global warming has any relevance on this year’s rain, he contends that this is a strange year, rain-wise.

But he is not complaining, except for the pain circling in his leg, he says.

Kannegiesser, who lives on his own, is in his swimming trunk, and shows a clear, blue pool outside his yard. “That is all rain water,” he brags.

His three water tanks – 5??????’??

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