SA village breaks weather record with temperatures soaring to 54°C

Kelerei

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Thank goodness for low humidity, at least in the interior of SA. These temps would be unbearable with the crazy high humidity of East Asia for example. Hitting 98%+ easily during summer.
Vioolsdrif is more humid than you may believe though: evaporation off the Orange River being the cause. Experienced this for myself when I used the nearby canoeing base camp on the Namibian side as an overnight rest stop one January.

Definitely not East Asian (or Durban) level humidity, but there's a noticeable difference between the Orange River valley and the surrounding area.
 

Gordon_R

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I suspect it wasn't really 54C. The weather station needs to be checked.
Makes sense! The model charts for Sat 30th show temperatures 10-15C lower than Thurs 28th, making this reading very suspicious.
 

LD50

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Tasted 54C in Dubai but it wasnt that bad because of low to no humidity
 

Polymathic

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Tasted 54C in Dubai but it wasnt that bad because of low to no humidity
Apparently in Phoenix, Arizona it's pretty common for tourists to collapse from heat exhaustion/dehydration because of the lack of humidity people don't feel hot and as a result they don't drink enough water to replace the liquid that they are losing through perspiration
 

wbot

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How large is the area that get these temperatures btw? And what are the temperatures of the areas directly outside of Vioolsdrif I wonder?

I know it gets super hot on the Namibian border but it almost sounds like this weather station is faulty or overheating lol.

P.s I don't know how weather stations work :)
 

McT

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Oh, come on, everyone. Give them a break. It is the only way they could put their town on the map. Let them have their moment in the spotlight, even if it is hot as hell.
 

RaptorSA

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Many, many years ago I did a 7 day Orange River canoeing trip with my family along the border.

It was pretty awesome, but one interesting thing was that the 45-50 degree temps every day weren't that bad at all. Humidity was zero and it just felt generally hot. Not scorching at all.
Let me guess, that's the one where you gather those green rocks on the last day and dump them in the fire.
The heat next to the orange river was OK, but I remember that short walk into the Namib to gather those rocks was insane, I've never experienced the scorch of the sun like that before.
 

Gaz{M}

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55C water from your geyser is enough to burn your skin and cause serious damage. So I can't believe the "Air temperature" was 54C. Everyone would roast to death.
 

Bryn

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Let me guess, that's the one where you gather those green rocks on the last day and dump them in the fire.
The heat next to the orange river was OK, but I remember that short walk into the Namib to gather those rocks was insane, I've never experienced the scorch of the sun like that before.
Nope. No rocks. Last day was just a particularly harsh rapid. After that we chilled and had a braai. Every day was just canoeing and camp stuff.
 

Eniigma

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I am honestly surprised there are no reported deaths with those temps.

With out pasty northern neighbours, temps like that would result in numerous deaths anywhere in Europe. Hell when it gets to higher 30's they start dropping like flies.
 

Gordon_R

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55C water from your geyser is enough to burn your skin and cause serious damage. So I can't believe the "Air temperature" was 54C. Everyone would roast to death.
You have to look at the combination of air temperature and humidity, and definitely not go outside in the midday sun!

One way to understand this is to look at the heat index: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_index

The table doesn't go all the way, but 42C at 40% humidity is about the same as 32C at 95% humidity (both pretty awful). In desert areas humidity can go as low as 10%, so 54C is not immediately fatal.
 
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