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20 December 2011

Vredendal is HOT stuff

Johannesburg - Vredendal residents might just have had to do the unforgivable and put ice cubes in their red wine, after the Western Cape town recorded the highest temperature in the country for December, the SA Weather Service said on Monday.

Vredendal, whose tourism office advertises itself as home to the largest wine cellar in the country, recorded a record-breaking temperature of 45.7°C on December 4, senior forecaster Ezekiel Sebego said. It was the town's highest recorded temperature to date.

According to the winestyle website, in South Africa, red wine is best served at 16°C to 18°C.

The previous highest temperature in the town was 45.5°C, on December 7 2008.

On Monday afternoon, Sebego said Vredendal was experiencing a reprieve from its previous fiery temperatures, with a current temperature of 28°C.

"A cold front passed through the South Western Cape this morning."

On Saturday, Vioolsdrif, a Namaqualand village on the Orange River - apparently named after Jan Viool who used to play the fiddle while waiting for ox wagons to cross a ford - recorded the second highest temperature for this month at 42.5°.

The third highest temperature for the month, 42.4°C, was recorded on Sunday at Augrabies Falls, the site of a majestic waterfall in the Northern Cape.

Although the weather station in the area is not electronic and Monday's figures will only be available on Tuesday, Sebego said that nearby in Upington, the temperature was 37°C.

"It is likely to still be very hot in the north," he said.

Sebego said the hot temperatures over the weekend in the central and western parts of the country were caused by a high pressure system.

Looking ahead, for those in Gauteng, the Free State, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, an umbrella, a pair of Wellington boots - or even a fine red wine - might just be the perfect Christmas gift.

Sebego said on Monday there was a good chance of rain and thunderstorms in these provinces over the Christmas long weekend.

- SAPA/News24