The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned of possible heat strokes, exhaustion and skin rashes following the rise in temperatures lately, saying efforts should be made to remain hydrated during periods of intense heat and evapotranspiration.

Farmers have also been urged to sufficiently irrigate crops and hydrate animals to reduce losses associated with heat stress in both crops and animals. In a statement, the MSD said the heat would be accompanied by thunderstorms in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South Provinces with the moisture exacerbating the heat while the rest of the country remains hot.

“The prevailing sunny weather enhances evapotranspiration. Hot day-time conditions may result in dehydration and heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat rash. Wear a sun hat or carry an umbrella if there is need to be outdoors and stay hydrated,” warned the MSD.

The department said the availability of moisture would make it feel even hotter and uncomfortable therefore making it important to stay hydrated.

In its Friday to Sunday (today) weather outlook the MSD said: “The westerly cloud band that just entered the country resulted in cloudy conditions over Matabeleland North and South, as well as northern parts of Midlands and Mashonaland West. The rest of the country would be partly cloudy and hot. Isolated afternoon thunder showers are expected in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces. The other provinces should however, remain hot and partly cloudy,” reported the MSD.

Some parts of the country have been experiencing thunderstorms and communities have been encouraged to find appropriate shelter and not under trees, poles or pylons. However, the MSD also warns farmers from planting any crops as these rains do not indicate the start of the rain season. The MSD in conjunction with the Department of Civil Protection further said it is best to be indoors when thunder roars.

“Do not seek shelter under trees or near poles or pylons, try to find an earthed building (most council-approved houses and buildings are less affected by lightning and due to earth wire that runs through them). If you are unable to find shelter, crouch as low as possible and as far as possible from livestock,” they added.

The dry grass and windy conditions also increase the risk of runaway veld fires and communities have been further warned not to start veld fires.

The weather outlook from today onwards remains partly cloudy.  —@NyembeziMu