The heatwave that has gripped Gauteng for the better part of this week, which was initially expected to end on Thursday, will extend into Friday, the South African Weather Service warned.
Speaking to The Citizen, forecaster Victoria Nurse said people could still expect hot to very hot conditions on Friday.
“However, maximum temperatures are expected to go back into the warm category on Saturday, when the heatwave starts leaving the province,” Nurse said.
Despite the scorching hot conditions on Wednesday, things took a different turn when an intense storm started moving into the southern parts of the province in the late afternoon.
The thunderstorms, coupled with strong lightning and high winds, plunged several residents in Tshepiso and parts of Sebokeng into darkness as power supplies were affected.
Such freak weather conditions, according to Nurse, were not abnormal, especially during heatwaves.
“We also did not expect any thunderstorms on Wednesday for Gauteng, because they were out of our rainfall boundaries.
“The thunderstorms were organised in a line and were definitely not heat-driven,” she said.
Maximum temperatures in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Vereeniging are expected to reach highs of 35ºC, 33ºC and 32ºC respectively on Friday.
Nurse said there was only a 30% chance of rain on Sunday.
But the heatwave in other parts of the country, which include Limpopo’s western Bushveld, the northern parts of the Northern Cape, Free State and North West, ended on Thursday.
This week’s heatwave followed days of rain, which were accompanied by severe thunderstorms and which also saw several people losing their lives in Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg.
Recently, a tornado swept through Ennerdale in the south of Johannesburg, damaging several houses and vehicles.
Even though the rainfall was not enough to immediately address the drought crisis gripping many parts of the country, it was welcomed.
The drought has resulted in the country’s dam levels dropping significantly and authorities had no choice but to start replenishing the Vaal Dam, which supplies water mainly to Gauteng.
This meant water had to be released from Sterkfontein Dam, which is used as a storage reserve.
The replenishing exercise, coupled with the little rain experienced so far, has seen the water level of the Vaal Dam increasing gradually.
Several municipalities have implemented water restrictions which, among other things, prohibit people from making use of hosepipes to wash their cars or water their gardens between 6am and 6pm