A recent heatwave in South Africa has set new temperature records in multiple provinces, including the Northern Cape, Free State, and North West.
South Africa heatwave: Scorching heat sets new temperature records
The heatwave, which began on Sunday, 19 November 2023, led to unprecedented hot conditions across South Africa, peaking on Monday, 27 November 2023.
The Northern Cape, North West, and Free State experienced extremely hot temperatures, with the Automatic Weather Station at Augrabies Falls recording a maximum of 46.7°C.
According to preliminary data, more than 10 stations recorded the highest temperature for November on the 27th. Notably, Augrabies Falls surpassed its previous record of 46.2°C set in 2019, although its highest maximum temperature remains at 48.6°C from January 2016.
The report includes detailed records of the highest maximum temperatures across various stations between Thursday, 23 November and Tuesday 28 November 2023.
Stations like Kokstad, Taung, Upington, Durban South Wentworth, Greytown, and Richards Bay Airport, among others, have all observed new record high temperatures.
Apart from the maximum temperatures, several locations also set new records for the highest minimum temperatures during the same period.
Giants Castle AWS, Kokstad, Belfast, Machadodorp AWS, and Thohoyandou WO are among the stations that reported record-breaking minimum temperatures.
More unusually dry weather conditions expected
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in an El Niño state, which typically leads to drier and warmer conditions in Southern Africa.
The current forecasts suggest uncertainty regarding the usual dry conditions, particularly over eastern South Africa. The SAWS cautions that the El Niño effect might change the rainfall forecast for the mid-and-late-summer.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) is closely monitoring weather and climate conditions and will provide updates on future assessments. The minimum and maximum temperatures are expected to be mostly above normal throughout the country for the forecast period.