PMB swelters as drought adds to soaring temperatures

2015-10-08 10:32
University of KwaZulu-Natal senior agrometeorologist Vivek Naiken checks the temperature at the university yesterday. Although the thermometer showed a high of 38,5 degrees at 12.20 pm yesterday, the temperature was one degree higher than the actual

University of KwaZulu-Natal senior agrometeorologist Vivek Naiken checks the temperature at the university yesterday. Although the thermometer showed a high of 38,5 degrees at 12.20 pm yesterday, the temperature was one degree higher than the actual (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - With temperatures in Pietermaritzburg reaching a scorching 37,5 degrees on Wednesday, tests by the University of KwaZulu-Natal showed temperatures peaked at over 60 degrees Celsius inside cars.

KZN is experiencing its driest year in over a century, which means, with no rain, the heat is only due to increase.

UKZN Agrometeorology lecturer Dr Alistair Clulow said the lack of rain means there is little water to cool the earth’s surface, and the air temperature.

He said that although it will be hotter, the relative humidity is less because of the drought, reducing the human discomfort level to the level of the actual temperature, so the heat we felt will be the same as the temperature of the air with no added humidity.

Yesterday, second year UKZN Agrometeorology students conducted an experiment to measure the temperature inside a vehicle on a hot spring day.

The staggering results showed the interior reaching extreme conditions within 13 minutes of closing the doors.

At the same time ER24 reported that a three-month-old baby had been locked in a car in undercover parking at the Liberty Midlands Mall yesterday.

ER24 spokesperson Paul Knoesen said they were not sure how long the child was left unattended but the mother claimed “it was only five minutes”.

“The child is fine and did not need any special care or attention,” said Knoesen.

With the Agrometeorology students measuring temperatures of over 60 degrees inside the car within minutes after 2 pm, Knoesen and Clulow appealed to people not to leave their pets or children inside a car for any amount of time.

Meanwhile, Teletubbies day care and crèche caregiver Molyne Samuel was thankful that the crèche had aircon and kept the children inside for most of the day because of the extreme heat. “We … sometimes open the windows as well and have given them plenty of water.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather

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