Cape Town residents and visitors may experience high temperatures over the next few days as summer reaches its peak – after an average high temperature of 35°C last week.
The South African Weather Services (SAWS) said maximum temperatures are expected to reach the high 20s and low 30s over the next few days.
Weather forecaster Surprise Mhlongo said: “The maximum temperature in Cape Town City is forecast to be 30℃ on January 13, 2022, 32℃ on January 14, and 28℃ on January 15.”
Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell has warned that these were prime weather conditions for fires.
“According to our Fire Services, a combination of high temperatures, high winds, and low humidity makes for ideal fire conditions. The SAWS use these parameters, among others, to establish a Fire Danger Index,” said Bredell.
“We are asking the public to be very careful when lighting open fires. If you are planning to enjoy the outdoors and you light a fire, never leave it unsupervised and make absolutely certain that it is completely extinguished before departing,” added Bredell.
Currently, dam levels are at 91.9%, however, Bredell warns that evaporation could affect dam levels.
“During times of high temperatures, there is also high levels of evaporation from our storage dams. We are fortunate, in the sense, that we had a wet winter and most of our large dams are still relatively full. However, people should continue to use water sparingly, as it remains a scarce and precious resource,” Bredell said.
Last week, temperatures reached the highest average maximums for Cape Town. SAWS said, according to observations, the maximum temperatures in Cape Town City were 29℃ on January 7, 35℃ on January 8, and 26℃ on January 9.
A recent study by the Copernicus Climate Change Service has revealed that global temperatures were the highest last year, in line with predictions that climate change would see a rise in temperatures.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa senior climate policy analyst Dr Prabhat Upadhyaya said: “Over the past few years, we have seen this pattern developing – which corroborates that climate change is happening and that temperatures are on an increasing trajectory, across the world. The impacts are wide-ranging and vary depending on their context.
“One of the major consequences of climate change is extreme weather events. Last week alone, there were heavy snowfalls in Pakistan and we have just experienced flooding here in South Africa, with a tragic loss of life in East London.
“In the northern and southern hemispheres, the weather is becoming more unpredictable because the overall global weather system is becoming unbalanced,” Upadhyaya said.