South Africa

Anticipated rain in Gauteng next week to offer relief from heatwave

Weather 7 oct 2

There is a slight chance of rain next week. But it is very unlikely after the first heatwave this week which saw Gauteng recording maximum temperatures of up to 36°C early this month.

Vox Weather meteorologist Michelle Cordier said the scorching heat would cool down by the end of the weekend.

ALSO READ: Weather update: Extremely high fire danger warning in six provinces

“From Sunday, it will become cooler in the east where rain and thundershowers are possible in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The conditions will spread to the central parts of the country from Monday where we can already see rain and thundershowers developing over central South Africa over North West, Free State and Gauteng,” she said.

Chance of rain

Botha said there was a chance of rain and thundershowers right through next week for northeastern South Africa.

“It is difficult to say in advance exactly how much rain will fall, but models estimate between 15mm and 25mm for Gauteng. In the Free State and North West, between 20mm and 40mm of rain can fall up to 14 October,” she said.

Botha said the temperature was due to a heatwave.

ALSO READ: Climate change wake-up call: More extreme weather coming to SA

“There is a dominating high-pressure system in the upper air. The high-pressure system forces warm air towards the earth’s surface and prevents the air near the earth’s surface from escaping,” she explained.

“The high pressure in the upper air acts half as a cover that traps the warm air below it and therefore it remains particularly hot in Gauteng, North West, parts of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State.”

Botha said it was considered a heatwave when the predicted maximum temperature of the day was 5°C or higher than the average temperature of the hottest month of the year.

“For example, Johannesburg’s hottest month of the year is January and the average temperature for the month is 27°C. The forecast temperature must be 32°C or higher for three consecutive days for heatwave conditions to be declared,” she said.

Challenging times for farmers

General manager of the commercial farmers union, TAU SA, Bennie van Zyl said it was a challenging time for farmers with the weather conditions as they had to decide when to start planting.

“Currently, we have fluctuating rain patterns and a late-season drought. Farmers are wondering if they should start planting after the first rains or wait to see if we get the drought,” he said.

Van Zyl said farmers had to prepare themselves.

ALSO READ: Ramokgopa clears ‘confusion’ on hot weather and load shedding comments

“After the recent heavy rains across some parts of the country, some farmers have started planting while others waited. The big thing is now, once you plant those seeds, you want them to start growing and then you need water to carry it through,” he explained.

Van Zyl said farmers also had to watch the weather closely in their regions and work according to that because conditions differed from east to west and from wet to warm and dry.