Heat wave conditions over the western and central interior: 16 – 19 January 2014
Heat wave conditions are currently being experienced in places over the western and central interior areas of South Africa and are expected to persist until Sunday, 19 January 2014. Areas affected are Gauteng, the western Bushveld of Limpopo, the North-West province, the north-western parts of the Free State and the northern parts of the Northern Cape. Maximum temperatures in these places are expected to be in the mid-high 30s, reaching lower 40s in the northern parts of the Northern Cape.
What is a heat wave?
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat. Technically, a heat wave occurs when temperatures for a location are 5 °C or more above the average temperature of the hottest month for that location, and continues for 3 consecutive days or more.
What is the cause of this particular heat wave?
A broad and strong high pressure system is currently over the western and central parts of the country, resulting in the sinking or downward motion of air (subsidence). This causes air to become hotter and drier as it descends downwards. Another factor contributing to these high temperatures is the fact that there has been below-par rainfall conditions that have recently been experienced in some of the affected areas. That would mean that more energy is available for rising temperatures than would otherwise have been.
Are heat waves unusual?
Heat waves in South Africa are not unusual during the spring and summer seasons.
What advice does SAWS give to the affected communities?
- Stay indoors in a well-ventilated or air-conditioned room where possible
- If working outside, wear protective clothing (head-gear, etc) and take breaks at regular intervals
- Avoid playing excessive sports and hard labour
- Dress in light weight clothes
- Drink plenty of liquids (not alcohol)
- Outside playtime for kids must be limited or prohibited between 10:00 and 16:00
- Take extra care of the old and infirm
The South African Weather Service will continue monitoring the weather developments and will issue further updates as required.
The public is urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information can also be found at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service twitter account @SAWeatherServic
Compiled by: Ezekiel Sebego: Senior Forecaster and Edwin Thema: Forecaster
For technical enquiries contact:
National Forecasting Centre Tel: 012 367 6041
Media enquiries contact:
Ms Hannelee Doubell: Manager, External Communications Tel: (012) 367 6104
Cell: 072 222 6305 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The South African Weather Service