Cape Town hit by record hot days in June

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Cape Town had record hot weather in June.
Cape Town had record hot weather in June.
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  • Cape Town experienced bursts of summer temperatures during June – which is usually a cold and rainy month.
  • The City's temperature hit 29.9°C at one point, the hottest day in June, while a weather station covering the Cape Flats recorded its highest temperature for the month in 62 years.
  • But there have been warmer days – mainly during the summer months – when temperatures were around 40°C, about seven years ago.

If Capetonians think it was unseasonably warm in June, which is generally cold and rainy, they're not wrong. Maximum temperatures during the month hit records.

The city on 6 June experienced its hottest day when maximum temperatures hit 29.9 °C, the South African Weather Service's (SAWS) Cape Town office confirmed. This is the highest reading from the Molteno weather station for June since it opened in 2001, noted Robin-Lee Batties, Cape Town Weather Office spokesperson.

The weather station at Cape Town International Airport, which covers the Cape Flats area and has been operating since 1960, also recorded its highest temperature for June in 62 years at 30.9 °C on 7 June. Before that, the record for June was 30.5°C in 1999.

The hottest months in Cape Town are generally between December and March, with peaking temperatures in January and February, noted Kate Turner, senior forecaster at the Cape Town Weather Office. 

Turner shared that the city's maximum temperatures hit a record of 39.8°C in March 2015 and February 2005. Cape Town International Airport surpassed the 40°C mark, with temperatures hitting 42.3°C in March 2015.

On average, June's maximum temperature for the City was 18.9°C, slightly cooler than the 19.8°C recorded the previous year. The average June temperature for the airport was 18.2°C – also lower than the 20°C recorded the previous year.

READ | 2021 was among the top 5 hottest years for the world. In SA, it was milder - for now

SAWS chief scientist for climate service, Dr Andries Kruger, said that the warm temperatures were brought about by the Indian Ocean High-Pressure system causing dry and cloudless conditions over South Africa. The South-Western Cape also experienced a Berg wind (hot, dry wind), contributing to rising surface temperatures. Given that such weather conditions are not unusual during winter, Kruger said the June heat couldn't be attributed to climate change for sure. However, he noted that globally, climate is becoming hotter.

"The South-Western Cape has become somewhat drier in recent decades and is projected to become drier in future as well. It has become warmer in general," Kruger added.

In April, parts of KwaZulu-Natal were hit by flooding. Climate scientists attributed the intense rainfall to climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that South Africa will experience increasing droughts, wildfires and flooding resulting from climate change as global temperatures continue to rise.

The effects of climate change are being felt worldwide. Spain and France have been experiencing extreme heat. According to The Guardian, heatwaves are occurring earlier than expected and more frequently. An AFP repot warns that dry conditions in Spain and Portugal, brought on by climate change, will also negatively impact olive and wine production.

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