The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Temperatures Soar As Hot Spell Continues

A hot spell continued sweeping across the country yesterday with some places recording temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius, while people collapsed in some areas as they worked in fields and gardens.

This confirms October this year as the hottest month since 1925. The high temperatures are expected to continue until Sunday.

The Health and Child Welfare Ministry and some health experts are urging members of the public to be wary of diarrhoea, headaches, vomiting and dehydration.

Senior Meteorological officer, Mr Jonathan Chifuna, yesterday said the highest temperatures were recorded in Chiredzi with 45 degrees Celsius, up from 44 degrees Celsius recorded in October 1992.

He said all stations countrywide-recorded temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius yesterday. Lupane beat its Monday record of 42 degrees Celsius by recording 42,5 yesterday.

Harare (Belvedere) also surpassed its 1925 record of 35,1 degrees Celsius, setting a new 2011 record of 35,4 degrees Celsius. Harare International Airport recorded 36,1 degrees Celsius up from 34,2 recorded last year.

Binga recorded 41,5 degrees Celsius, up from 40,8. Kadoma set a new record of 39,7 degrees Celsius up from 38,2 recorded in 1998.

Plumtree recorded 38,5 degrees Celsius up from 37,8 degrees Celsius recorded in 1962. Gokwe recorded 37,6 degrees Celsius up from 36,5 degrees Celsius recorded in 1954.

West Nicholson recorded 44 degrees Celsius, Zaka 43, Beitbridge 43, Victoria Falls 41 and Wedza 36 degrees Celsius.

Health and Child Welfare Minister, Dr Henry Madzorera, said the direct effect of the hot temperatures were dehydration and sweating and encouraged people to drink a lot of water.

He said the weather also favoured the breeding of flies and mosquitoes, adding that the people were supposed to use fly-traps and be wary of diseases caused by flies.

The Met Department attributed the high temperatures to a middle level high-pressure centre that developed on Sunday.

Farmers have been encouraged to carry out their farming activities early and stop by mid-morning.

The Chicago Red Cross released this list of do's and don'ts for staying cool during a heat wave:

Do:

Slow down.

  • Avoid strenuous activity. If that's not possible, try to do it during the coolest part of the day - 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest level, out of the sunshine. Try to go to a public building with air conditioning each day for several hours.
  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing, which reflect away some of the sun's energy.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you don't feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.

Don't:

  • Drink anything with alcohol or caffeine because they dehydrate the body.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.

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