Yesterday was the year’s hottest, but its cooling again

2012-01-13 00:00

As temperatures rose yesterday, the city was the second hottest region in KwaZulu-Natal with the discomfort index at a boiling 39°C and humidity at an uncomfortable 77%.

Mthunzini situated on the KZN coast registered 35°C. According to the Weather SA forecaster, Wisani Maluleke, yesterday was the most blistering day since January began.

The good news is that a cold front is expected this weekend.

KZN can definitely expect more days like these — January is traditionally a hot month — but things should be cooling off today as a cold front is approaching

“Usually after a cold front the ocean pushes cooler air to the land,” Maluleke explained.

The cool weather will be welcomed, even by residents lucky enough to have swimming pools. One Prestbury resident said his pool water was like soup, measuring 31 degrees at 6.30 pm last night.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks, said the heatwave was causing a lot of distress. “We are getting calls from people who are suffering from heatstroke,” he said.

Even though there are still plenty of cases to attend to, Banks said, they are noticing that more people are taking better precautions. He advised people to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding fizzy drinks.

People should try to keep indoors, apply sunscreen lotion, dive into a pool, wear a cap and drink lots of water.

A mother from Scottsville, who asked to remain unnamed, said, it is “unfair” for pupils to do sport training at schools in the scorching heat.

She said at her son’s school, they train from 2pm to 5pm and believes they should cut down the hours.

“My 15-year-old boy was dizzy, exhausted and couldn’t eat when he came back from school on Wednesday.”

A Pietermaritzburg-based sports coordinator and coach, Debbie Minnaar, said children should not be involved in extensive sporting activity during high temperatures. “Coaches shouldn’t necessarily cancel sessions, but should be more lenient,” she added.

Minnaar advised parents to ensure that their children had an adequate vitamin C intake as this helps rejuvenate the system as well as plenty of water and sunscreen to take to school.

AFTER stories of parents leaving their children in cars while they go shopping, a Gauteng journalist put herself in those children’s shoes on Wednesday.

ER24 parked a car in the sun and monitored the rise in temperatures inside and outside the vehicle at a shopping mall in Gauteng.

“The results went beyond what all of us expected,” said ER24’s spokesperson, Werner Vermaak.

“It was clear that a child or an adult exposed to extreme heat could suffer a serious medical condition”.

The initial readings indicated that the outside temperature was 29°C while inside the vehicle it was a cool 19.4°C.

After 30 minutes the temperature outside was 29,2°C and inside the vehicle quickly reached 36,1°C. An hour later it soared to a staggering 43,2°C. After two hours, at 12pm, it was 57.3°C.

The journalist said she started feeling a bit dizzy, her hands started shaking and she was sweating.

At 1.20 pm temperatures were over 63°C inside the car.

“The experiment proved just how dangerous it could be if you leave your child or pet inside a vehicle. Children will suffer more than adults,” warned Vermaak.

Excessive exposure to heat may result in children suffering seizures or brain damage and if not corrected immediately they may go into heatstroke or exhaustion that may result in death.

A motor vehicle is effectively a metal box that can act as an oven when parked in direct sunlight or high temperatures, said Vermaak.

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