South Africa

Heatwave: Weather service warns of persistently high temperatures

The heatwave which has gripped parts of the country for most parts of the week, is expected to continue into the weekend, the South Africa Weather Service (Saws) has warned.

The country has seen persistently high temperatures last week with warnings for residents to take precautions against the scorching weather.

Heatwave

Saws says the mercury is expected to hit the high thirties in some areas.

“Heatwave conditions resulting in persistently high temperatures  exceeding average maxima is expected over the North-West, most part of the Free State except in the south, the Frances Baard District  Municipality in the Northern Cape, Gauteng, the Highveld of Mpumalanga,  as well as the central and western parts of Limpopo, until Sunday.

“Under these conditions, prolonged exposure to the sun poses health risks. Therefore, it is advisable to seek shade and keep hydrated,” Saws said.

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Saws also warned of extremely high fire conditions.

“Extremely high fire danger conditions are expected over the north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape, North-West, Free State, western and south-western parts of Limpopo, parts of Gauteng, south-eastern  parts of Mpumalanga, as well as the north-western parts of KwaZulu- Natal.”

For the Western Cape, Saws issued a Yellow Level 2 warning for disruptive rain leading to localised flooding and mudslides is expected in the Overberg District Municipality of the Western Cape.

Hottest September ever

Meanwhile, the European climate change watchdog has found that September 2023 was the hottest September ever recorded due to climate change.

Much of the world sweltered through unseasonably warm weather in September, in a year expected to be the hottest in human history and after the warmest-ever global temperatures during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

September’s average surface air temperature of 16.38 degrees Celsius was 0.93C above the 1991-2020 average for the month and 0.5C above the previous 2020 record, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said in a report.

Though the numbers appear small, long-term rises in average global temperatures of only a couple of degrees will spell havoc for humanity.

The report said the figure was “the most anomalous warm month” in its dataset going back to 1940 and around 1.75C hotter than the September average in the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period.

“We’ve been through the most incredible September ever from a climate point of view. It’s just beyond belief,” C3S director Carlo Buontempo told AFP.

The unprecedented September temperatures “have broken records by an extraordinary amount”, added C3S deputy director Samantha Burgess.

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