Heatwave and stormy conditions expected over parts of South Africa

22 February 2024 | SAWS

Greater parts of South Africa have been experiencing extreme heat in the recent weeks, with maximum temperatures peaking above 40 degrees in places over the Northern and Western Cape.

A heatwave is defined as “an extreme weather event in which there is a prolonged period of above-normal temperatures”.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has determined, particularly for South African conditions, that for a heatwave to be declared, “the maximum temperature at a particular station should reach or exceed the average maximum temperature for the hottest month, for three or more consecutive days”.

These conditions have been happening over parts of the country in the past weeks and are expected to continue until Saturday, in the North West, Free State and Northern Cape.

However, it should be noted that although some places do not meet the technical definition of a heatwave, they are also expected to experience extreme heat, and the public in those areas are advised to also take the necessary precautions.

These precautions include, but are not limited to staying hydrated, limiting outdoor activities during the hottest time of the day, wearing appropriate clothing, and keeping an eye on vulnerable Individuals.

In addition, some places over central and eastern parts of the country have been experiencing occurrences of severe thunderstorms in the past weeks. These produced excessive lighting, hail, strong damaging winds, and heavy downpours. Conditions for further thunderstorms, with potential for some becoming severe, are expected to persist into the weekend. They may lead to localised flooding of roads and settlements, falling of trees causing damage to property and infrastructure, service disruptions due to power surges, and localised injuries and danger to life due to lightning.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required.

The public are urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information in this regard will regularly be available at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service X account @SAWeatherServic

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