The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services is alerting the public to expect prolonged period of hot and uncomfortable weather that will persist in most parts of the Southern Region to last over the next 3 days from Saturday to Tuesday December 12.
A statement from the Department issued this evening says the impact level is significant at level 6 over Shire Valley and level 5 over Southern highlands.
Daytime maximum temperatures are forecasted to rise significantly, with the following projections for the Shire Valley to exceed 42°C which is 7 degrees more than average.
The Southern highlands temperatures to exceed 35°C which is 6 degrees more than average.
The statement further says impacts of ”the prolonged exposure to extreme heat can pose serious health risks, especially to vulnerable people, such as the elderly, young children, and those with pre-existing health conditions”.
”Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke are a significant concern,” says the statement while advising the public to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty.
They are also asked to avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can cause dehydration and to seek indoor shelter — preferably in air-conditioned buildings, or use fans to cool down.
People should also dress appropriately such as light and loose-fitting clothing and to use sunscreen to protect their skin from harmful sunlight.
People should also constantly check on vulnerable relatives to ensure that the elderly and sick family members are
coping with the heat as well as to avoid intensive activities by reducing physical activities, especially during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm).
According to Britannica.com Heatwave is a period of prolonged abnormally high surface temperatures relative to those normally expected and may span several days to several weeks and are significant causes of weather-related mortality, affecting developed and developing countries alike.
Globally, the increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves observed since the 1950s has been associated with climate change and that such weather phenomena may be characterized by low humidity which may exacerbate drought.
The World Meteorological Organization defines it as five or more consecutive days during which the daily maximum temperature surpasses the average maximum temperature by 5°C (9 °F) or more.