The excessive heat being experienced in parts of Ghana has been described as normal by the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA).
According to the agency, observations made indicated that temperatures all over Ghana were within the normal range of 20-43 degrees Celsius experienced within this season.
However, residents are complaining about excessive heat during the day and night which, in their view, is abnormal.
The panic is accentuated by a message being circulated on social media platforms that Ghana and some African countries are experiencing a heat wave.
What is a heat wave?
The Principal Meteorologist at the GMA, Mr Joe Tetteh Portuphy, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said Ghana was not experiencing a heat wave.
“A heat wave is experienced when the temperature is high and humidity is also very high. It is defined as an extended period of hot weather relative to the expected conditions of the area at the time of the year. But when you compare temperatures with the relative humidity, it does not show that we have the corresponding figures to get a heat wave in Ghana,” he explained.
Mr Portuphy further indicated that current records showed that minimum and maximum temperatures in the coastal, middle and northern areas were between 23.8°C and 43.6°C, while the humidity level was between 50 and 80 per cent, adding that at places where the temperature was high, the humidity was low, and vice versa.
“Also, when the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by five degrees, then we have a heat wave. But, currently in Ghana, no observation has been made at any station of a temperature exceeding five degrees,” he further explained.
Why Ghana is hot
On why the sun is hot currently, he explained that the clouds which could cover the sun’s rays were not forming and so the direct rays of the sun were beaming on Ghana.
That, he said, was also because there were no rains, a situation which would persist for a long while.
In addition, Mr Portuphy said after March 21, 2016, the sun crossed the Equator on its way towards the Northern Hemisphere, making Ghana hot within the period.
On why there was heat during the night, the meteorologist said during the night, the clouds blocked the outgoing radiation and that made the atmosphere very warm.
He noted that Ghana would endure the hot weather for a while due to the little rain that would be experienced this year.
To keep the body temperature cool, he advised the public to drink lots of water to keep the body hydrated, bath with cold water and also wear light-coloured clothes.
“The heat is not normal”
To bear the excessive heat, some people carry fans to fan themselves during the day, while others use umbrellas to protect them from the scorching sun.
In interviews to ascertain how some residents of Accra felt about the heat, some people complained about the excessive heat which in their view was not normal.
“The handkerchief is not even enough to wipe the sweltering sweat and so I am now using a face towel which can soak the sweat very well. This is not normal,” a trader, Mr Desmond Addison, said.
“This heat cannot be normal. We are used to heat in Ghana but in recent times the heat we are experiencing is different. You can feel it burning your skin and it causes severe headache”, another trader, Mr Kojo Osei, said.
Iced water business booms
For “iced water” sellers on the streets, it is the time for them to make enough sales, although they are terribly affected by the heat.
“Now I am making more than I used to because the demand for cold water and drinks is very high,” Ms Asana Mohammed said.
A hawker who sells around the 37 Military Hospital who gave her name as Akua also said sales were better than before.
The message being circulated on social media reads: “The continent is currently experiencing a heat wave. Please stay indoors as much as possible especially between 12pm and 3pm daily. The temperature will rise up till 40 degrees Celsius. This can easily cause dehydration and sun stroke. (Ps: This phenomenon is due to the sun directly positioned above the equator).
“Please keep everyone inclusive of yourself hydrated. Everyone should be consuming about 3 litres of fluid every day. Monitor everyone’s blood pressure as frequent as possible. Many may get heat stroke. Take cold showers as frequent as possible. Reduce meat intake and increase fruits and vegetables.
“Heat wave is no joke! Place a new unused candle outside in an exposed area. If candle can melt, it’s in dangerous level. Always place a pail or 2 of water half-filled in living room & in every room to keep temperature moist. Always check lips, eye balls for moisture.”
Similar situations are said to be prevalent in some parts of the country.
From Tamale, Zadok Kwame Gyesi reports that due to changing climatic conditions, many parts of the Northern Region have become very hot during the mornings, afternoons and evenings.
Temperatures range between 29 and 39 degree Celsius.
Many people in the Tamale metropolis have now resorted to the wearing of sunglasses in order to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays.
In an interview, the Northern Regional Director of the GMA, Mr Jacob Lambon, said the temperature in the region would reach a maximum of 41 degree Celsius this year.