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Tue May 24 21:38:07 SAST 2016

The day Joburg melted

Shaun Smillie | 08 January, 2016 00:36

Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

It was hot enough to burn a polar bear's butt, melt hell or scorch a monkey's bum.

So many "hot enough to" sayings, but which one best illustrated Johannesburg's record-breaking scorching heat yesterday?

The afternoon temperature yesterday afternoon hit 38.9C in the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens.

Without access to a polar bear or a portal to hell, The Times headed to a sun-scorched car park.

We would decide if Joburg's new maximum temperature record was hot enough to fry an egg on the bonnet of a car. The test vehicle - a black Peugeot - had baked in the sun for at least three hours.

The first egg cracked proved that it is impossible to fry an egg on the bonnet of a Peugeot. It simply slid off. Plan B would be to cook the egg on the flatter roof of the car. Under a blazing sun, with the stopwatch running , a second egg was cracked. Then we waited and ... waited. Ten minutes later and the egg remained uncooked.

The myth was bust. It wasn't hot enough to fry an egg on the bonnet, or roof, of a car. But it was impossible to keep one's hand on the car for longer than a few seconds.

Johannesburg was not the only place in Gauteng to see records tumble yesterday.

Pretoria, according to the South African Weather Service, recorded a temperature of 42.5C, up from 41C on Wednesday. Vereeniging recorded a new record of 38C.

On Wednesday in Johannesburg a maximum temperature record of 38.3C was set, only to be broken yesterday.

According to Russel Meiring, a spokesman for ER24, the medical emergency response company wasn't called out to any heat-related casualties.

"People appeared to have listened to the warnings. But please remember, it is still going to be hot over the next couple of days, so keep hydrated," he said.

Weather forecaster Venetia Phakula said the heatwave that most of the country was experiencing was caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

She said next week's temperatures were likely to be cooler, with rain, but more heatwaves were expected next month.

Then it will be hot enough to ... well, we will just have to find out.


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