The South African Weather Service has issued a red-alert warning of a heatwave in parts of the country. South Africans are being urged to brace themselves for the hot and dry conditions that are expected to last all week, beginning today.
The affected areas are Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the eastern part of the North West.
ER24 Emergency Medical Services reminded people to “stay well hydrated and out of the sun. Look after children, the elderly and pets.”
Several services have also suggested that people carry water and umbrellas.
The persistently high temperatures are expected to last until Thursday or Friday.
Gauteng Weather tweeted this morning: “⚠️ ALERT: #HEATWAVE intensifies Monday afternoon.”
Predicted temperatures for this afternoon are: Vereeniging 34°C, Johannesburg 35°C and Pretoria 37°C. Temperatures in Limpopo could hit 40 later today.
Although restrictions have not been officially implemented in Johannesburg, Tshwane has called on residents to conserve water.
The spate of heatwaves in South Africa are being blamed on global warming and El Niño (the climate cycle caused by warm water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean moving eastward along the equator).
ER24 says that signs of severe heat stroke or exhaustion include: severe headache, weakness or disorientation, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps and severe thirst. They recommend that people with those symptoms be monitored and medical assistance sought if the symptoms persist.
Just a fortnight ago, Vredendal recorded a record high temperature of 48,3 °c , which became the hottest temperature recorded in the world during the month of October. Experts predict that 2015 could become South Africa’s hottest recorded year. This also comes at a time that parts of South Africa are facing a water crisis with #watershedding becoming the latest addition to the South African vernacular.
Contact ER24 on 084 124 for any medical emergency.
ER24’s Tips on handling a heatwave.