MEXICO CITY/MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters)
Mexican authorities urged people across the country to take safety precautions as an unusual late Spring heat wave sent temperatures soaring, with cooler days possibly weeks away.
Health ministry data through June 9 shows that at least six people have died this year as a result of the higher-than-normal temperatures.
“The heat is intense!” said Abigail Lopez, a nurse in normally sunny but temperate Mexico City who said she was drinking more water and wearing lighter clothes to try to beat the heat.
“Compared to previous years, it feels a lot worse.”
Mexico’s national meteorological service forecast temperatures over 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) on Thursday in all of the country’s 32 states, with highs at least 10 degrees hotter in 23 of them.
The current heat wave will continue for 10-15 more days, according to a forecast from scientists with the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, during an webcast press conference.
They added that another could begin in early July.
In Mexico City, children splashed around in public fountains and commuters shielded themselves from the sun with umbrellas. Past heat waves in the capital, where very few people have air conditioning, have tended to occur in April and May.
“It’s a lot,” sighed retiree Roberto Cardenas, referring to the 32C (90F) heat, explaining that around 15 degrees cooler is more common.
In the industrial hub Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon state, emergency services workers gave out cups of cold water to pedestrians as the temperature climbed above 40C.
In nine states including Nuevo Leon, temperatures were forecast to top 45C (113F) on Thursday (June 15).
Erik Cavazos, the head of Nuevo Leon’s emergency services agency, stressed that the extended daily count for the current hot streak was noteworthy.
“In the last 20 years, we haven’t had such a long heat wave,” he said. “That’s why we’ve labeled it atypical.”