Hottest spots in PMB

2016-02-04 10:45
The corner of Boshoff and Bulwer streets, near Merchiston Preparatory School, is one of the hottest places in Pietermaritzburg.

The corner of Boshoff and Bulwer streets, near Merchiston Preparatory School, is one of the hottest places in Pietermaritzburg. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - An experiment conducted at the request of The Witness has revealed that the hottest place to live in Pietermaritzburg is between Church Street and Merchiston Preparatory.

With current high temperatures due to KwaZulu-Natal’s crippling drought, UKZN Agrometeorology Professor Mike Savage conducted an experiment on Tuesday, with the results revealing the hottest areas in the city.

The hottest areas to live and work in, according to the experiment, appear to be along Church, Langalibalele and Jabu Ndlovu streets, and in the vicinity of Merchiston Preparatory School.

During the experiment, these areas reached a high of 37°C on Tuesday, with other areas in Pietermaritzburg being four degrees less.

Savage said the areas that had reached 33°C were Town Bush Road, Victoria Club and Bellevue.

“The variation in air temperature across Pietermaritzburg on a hot day is complex, due to a number of factors,” he said.

These factors include the surface of the land, Pietermaritzburg’s “valley shape” and urbanisation.

He said due to the reduction in pressure with increase in elevation, air temperature decreases with elevation.

Savage said this was called the “urban heat island effect”.

“This describes how the concrete, black-tarred roads and other materials absorb and trap heat from the sun more than if these materials were not there,” he said.

“These materials contain very little water. The water creates a cooling effect, as would be the case for open vegetated areas.”

He said cities such as Pietermaritzburg also reduce wind speed because of the number of buildings, which make conditions “even more uncomfortable during hot days”.

“The urban heat island effect makes cities hotter than they would be if they were not developed and populated.”

Savage said the effect can be seen in the results of the temperature experiment.

Areas such as Cascades and Bellevue have lots of trees, grass and open spaces, whereas the city is filled with towering buildings and a mass of people.

“On hot days, the valley shape of Pietermaritzburg results in the hottest conditions occurring at the ‘centre’ of the valley.

“A reverse effect may occur at night, with the lowest winter temperatures occurring at low elevations, such as the Showgrounds.”

The second-most cool place to live in in Pietermaritzburg, with temperatures recorded at 34°C on Tuesday, is Cascades, followed by the top of Hesketh Drive and the area surrounding the Jesmond Dene Nursery.

Savage said the second hottest place to live and work according to his experiments results, at 36 and 35°C, is Woodhouse Road near the Golden Horse Casino, followed by the bottom of Hesketh Drive, Blackburrow Road, Grey’s Hospital, Hyslop Road, the Showgrounds and the areas between Greyling Street and Pietermaritz Street.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather

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