Extreme Temperature Diary- December 27th, 2018/ Topic: South African Heat Wave

Thursday December 27th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. 

South African Heat Wave

Today it has come to my attention via Professor Peter  Strachan from Scotland that South Africa is undergoing a significant heat wave at the start of their summer. Here is some of the information that my search browser is seeing:


From this article:

Temperatures in the capital Pretoria were forecast to peak at 39°C

The South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) on Wednesday forecast a temperature high of 40s degrees Celsius for the small town of Taung in the North West province. Photo: SAWS via Twitter (@tWeatherSA)

A heatwave which hit parts of South Africa earlier this week continued on Wednesday, with temperatures expected to hit the upper 30s degrees Celsius.

Temperatures in the capital Pretoria were forecast to peak at 39°C, while Johannesburg would reach 37°C and Vereeniging 36°C, weather service Gauteng Weather (@tWeatherSA) said via its Twitter account. 

It urged residents to help save lives by handing out frozen water bottles to the homeless, labourers and outdoor workers, and listed severe headache, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst, weakness and cramps among the symptoms of heatstroke. 

At the start of the week, the South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) warned of persistently high temperatures in Gauteng, western Highveld of Mpumalanga, SW Bushveld of Limpopo, North West, Free State, northern and north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape until at least Wednesday. 

On Wednesday SAWS forecast a high of 40°C for the small town of Taung in the North West province. 

– African News Agency (ANA)

Most alarmingly: https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/weather/2054705/national-dam-levels-decline-to-below-75-due-to-heat-wave/

National dam levels decline to below 75% due to heat wave

Temperatures were expected to reach 37 in Johannesburg today.

The department of water and sanitation said it was concerned about the heat wave that has gripped most parts of South Africa this week. It said national dam levels had declined to below 75% due to the high evaporation rates and lack of rain.

“This has resulted in high rates of evaporation leading to dwindling dam levels. The current national average has declined to below the 75% level,” it said. 

The department has urged South Africans to use water sparingly as it would take time to recharge water courses.

 “As the heat wave is predicted to continue further, we would like to encourage all water users to be considerate whilst using water to rehydrate as well as other uses.

“Let us all be conscious of the delayed rains thus it will take time to recharge the water courses, including groundwater.”

The SA Weather Service issued a watch for a heat wave in Gauteng and other provinces until “at least” Wednesday this week. 

“A heat wave with persistently high temperatures is expected in Gauteng, western Highveld of Mpumalanga, SW Bushveld of Limpopo, North West, Free State, northern and north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape until at least Wednesday,” it said. 

Temperatures were expected to reach 37 in Johannesburg today, while a high of 40°C for Taung in the North West province was forecast.

As we know, last warm season Johannesburg nearly ran out of drinking water due to a very prolonged drought. We will need the keep tabs  (pun intended) on the water supply there, which really won’t be a laughing matter at all she the city flirt with running out again. Going back through my Extreme Temperature Diary daily logs I recorded this about last year’s drought in January:


Quoting The Climate Guy: “Granted Cape Town is not a U.S. city, and climate change denialists will try to point to poor infrastructure and politics, or just bad weather luck for the lack of water crisis, but that city will be in the news starting this spring when taps run dry. Will more people in the States wake up  to the climate crisis once this tragedy unfolds? We will see. Here is an article from yesterday describing how drought in South Africa has unfolded and how much more time Cape Town has before taps run dry:”


“After April 12th water will need to be trucked into the area for nearly 4 million people unless conditions change dramatically. Logistically that effort can’t be sustained very long so slowly but surely residents will have to abandon Cape Town until rains return or until desalinization plants come on line.  Imagine the headache and hardship. From Bob Henson’s Category Six Blog: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/its-true-cape-towns-water-supply-three-months-away-shutdown

Now obviously the winter rains came, and Johannesburg was spared. My question on  12/27/18 is whether or not that large city is flirting with another lack of water catastrophe?  Looking at data sets from Johannesburg’s six largest reservoirs, it appears that at least this warm season going into 2019 there is not a crisis: http://cip.csag.uct.ac.za/monitoring/bigsix.html

We are also seeing some clues that this heat wave is breaking, at least temporarily:

From South Africa weather agencies it appears that the current heat wave is breaking:

In the grand scheme of things this heat wave was not so bad.


Here is some more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have  put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

The Climate Guy

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