Grab your water canisters, slather on the eco-friendly sunblock and make sure you buy a kiddie pool before they sell out — again. Cape Town was hot in January but February is set to up the heat.
Record-breaking temperatures this past weekend saw Cape Town residents try to crawl their way through what many have unofficially dubbed the “hottest day in South Africa’s weather history.” Or at least, that’s what it felt like.
Well, brace yourself Cape Town, because more hot weather is on the way.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has recently indicated that the extreme heat and humidity is here to stay a little longer, with residents encouraged to prepare themselves for hotter days in February — a month often considered one of the hottest in the Western Cape.
However, while many of us won’t deny the allure of more beach days, the recent heatwave may have a bit of a sinister twist. Speaking to IOL, UCT Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) deputy director Christopher Jack indicated that these extreme weather conditions may continue for the next several decades with the Mother City heating up by 0.1ºC every decade, a trend that could be a symptom of climate change.
According to the Cape Town Weather Office, there is a possibility that the Western Cape may experience even hotter days.
“This past weekend’s weather was a typical summer circulation and since we are approaching February which is the hottest month on average for South Africa, there is a possibility that the Western Cape can experience hotter days, even though the seasonal outlook is indicating normal to below-normal maximum temperatures for most of the country.”
“South Africa is warming up, but there can be cooler years in the future,” stated the weather office.
While this may conjure images similar to that found in Leonardo DiCaprio’s new movie Don’t Look Up or Mad Max, the weather office has indicated that cooler-than-normal day and night temperatures will still be experienced at times, but South Africa is still heating up.
We urge everybody to practice the relevant safety precautions to protect yourselves, animals, and the landscape. Hydrate, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet, and avoid fire-starting behaviours, including braaing in open areas.
Don’t forget about fire season
Fire prevention and reporting is everyone’s business. The earlier a fire is reported, the quicker the fire services can evaluate the situation and deploy the correct resources.
The CWDM’s Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Josias, cautions, “Avoid making fires on the very hot days when there is a high fire index, when conditions are favourable for a veldfire. In this hot weather, the ground and plants are very dry and even a small spark, if it lands on the right spot, can have catastrophic consequences.”
- During this very hot season, it is advisable to pack cold foods and enjoy a picnic rather than lighting a fire, even when there are designated braai areas.
- Hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners and campers should be extra vigilant while out and about in the heat. Always tell a family member or friend which trail you will be following and when they can expect you back. As such, your family can alert authorities and your safe evacuation can be arranged, if required.
- Landowners and farmers should ensure that all flammable vegetation situated on the borders of property/orchards and on fire breaks are cleared away.