Just a day after state power utility began implementing load shedding across the country, weather forecasts suggest parts of South Africa will experience heatwave from over the next several days.
South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Mbavhi Maliage said the heatwave could hit Gauteng as early as Friday.
Temperatures could reach as high as 37 degrees celsius on Saturday and remain high until mid-next week.
Maliage added, “For Gauteng, we’re expecting the heatwave to ease up only on Tuesday where temperatures will be in the late 20s.
“In other parts of the country, temperatures would only start to ease up on Wednesday.”
SAWS has already issued heatwave advisories for parts of the Eastern Cape where high temperatures were recorded from Wednesday.
Load shedding to last ‘at least a week’
The heatwave will most likely put additional pressure on Eskom’s grid as people turn to air conditioners to stay cool.
Speaking to talk radio channel 702 on Wednesday, Eskom head of generation Jan Oberholzer said load shedding could potentially be in place for at least a week.
He said, “[At] this point in time, realistically, we believe the situation will continue for the next week.”
The power utility urged South Africans to use electricity sparingly through a number of measures, including setting air conditioners at an average temperature of 23ºC.
How to cope with heatwave
To cope with the expected heatwave in South Africa, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun between 11am and 3 pm.
Use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun if it’s necessary to go out, or walk in the shade as much as possible.
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and try to have cool baths and showers. Wear light and loose-fitting outfits if possible.