Famous for a day: Vioolsdrif's 54°C temperature declared questionable

02 December 2019 - 17:05
By Matthew Savides
Last week's 'record' temperature at Vioolsdrif in the Northern Cape has been declared invalid.
Image: istock Last week's 'record' temperature at Vioolsdrif in the Northern Cape has been declared invalid.

Just a day after it was announced that a tiny village in the Northern Cape had broken the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country — reaching close to 54°C - the record has been stripped.

The SA Weather Service (Saws) said on Monday the data recorded from the temperature sensor at the Vioolsdrif weather station was "questionable". Any readings were therefore declared invalid.

Saws said it publishes a daily weather bulletin that provides weather statistics, but this data comes directly from instrumentation and is not yet quality controlled. It is therefore considered to be preliminary data.

"A maximum temperature record of 50.1 °C for Vioolsdrif weather station for November 28 was reported on the daily weather bulletin last Friday [November 29]. Saws realised that if correct, it would mean a new national record for South Africa," said the weather service.

"Investigations into the data from the station revealed that the temperature sensor had just been replaced two days prior. A decision was made to track the behaviour of the station over the weekend. The analysis of this data showed that the behaviour of the temperature sensor was questionable and the preliminary temperature reading of 50.1°C as a new record is therefore invalid." 

On Sunday, Saws forecaster Mbavhi Maliage told TimesLIVE that Vioolsdrif first broke the record in 1995 with a temperature of 46.2°C.

“On Thursday [November 28], it reached a new record of 50.1°C and then it broke its own record again on Friday by reaching 53.2°C, which was rounded off to 54°C,” she said at the time.