The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has extended a heatwave warning until Friday (7 October) for Gauteng, the North West, northern Free State and parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

On Tuesday (4 October), the weather service said that extremely hot and dry conditions will continue to prevail over a large part of the Highveld through to the weekend.

The service has recommended that South Africans ensure that they stay hydrated and out of direct sunlight or remain indoors between the hours of 11h00 and 15h00.

This comes as parts of Gauteng have been hit with Stage 2 water shedding due to higher demand on reservoirs as a result of the heatwave. Big metros such as Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni face water outages.

Gauteng water utility Rand Water said that it would implement restrictions – cutting 30% of flow – with immediate effect and would assess the situation every two weeks.

It said that over the past two weeks, water consumption has increased to the point that overall storage in water reservoirs has declined from 58% to 38% capacity. The utility said the restrictions would help it ensure that reservoir capacity is restored to 60%.

Temperatures are expected to register maximums in the high 30s with no immediate prospect of relief in sight.

Major Gauteng hubs like Pretoria are expected to see temperatures of 37 degrees by Friday, with Johannesburg three degrees behind at 34.

“A spell of dry, cloud-free weather over the past few days has allowed maximum levels of sunshine to arrive over the interior of the country, with temperatures becoming incrementally higher every day,” said the SAWS.

It added that a large upper-air high-pressure system that has dominated the weather pattern over the southern part of Africa in the past week has added to the heatwave. This so-called ‘anticyclone’ has blocked the arrival of summer rains.

Summarily, there is a lower chance that thunderstorms can develop, and worryingly, as a result of this, the sinking air heats up dramatically.

Precautions to take:

The weather service said that the most sensible advice is to:

  • Ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking water regularly
  • Avoid over-exertion when exercising (sport or leisure)
  • Ensure that small children and infants are supplied fluids often as dehydration can set in quick
  • Take care of the elderly, who are also at risk of over-exertion
  • Be cognisant of the sunshine by wearing hats and using eye protection
  • Liberally apply sunblock to all exposed skin
  • Stay indoors or in shade and out of direct sunshine between the hours of 11h00 and 15h00.

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