Over 40 degrees but not a heat wave in Upington

| Selby Nomnganga
Digging graves in Upington. Photo by Selby Nomnganga.

Temperatures in Upington in the Northern Cape have risen to over 40 degrees. But it’s still not an official heatwave for this scorching hot part of the country.

The weather centre defines a heat wave as three consecutive days with maximum temperatures five degree Celsius higher than the average maximum of the hottest month. In Upington the temperatures from 20 January were 39, 40 and 41C respectively. The average maximum temperature is 36C and is in January. So it would have to be 41C or higher three days in a row for it to be a heat wave.

The weather centre still warned people against dehydration. It encouraged people to drink a lot of water and to stay “away from direct sunlight.”

In the photo, taken on 21 January, the temperature was 40C. Men were digging graves using picks and shovels. Each family in Paballelo Township near Upington has to dig its own grave or hire people to do so for a burial of a loved one. On this day, the compressor provided by the local municipality, which is used to help digging, had broken down.

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