Mexico heat wave: Records shattered, experts warn of hail, whirlwinds

The sun rises amid high temperatures in Mexico City, Thursday, May 23, 2024. AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

The third heat wave suffocating dozens of states in Mexico could give way on Sunday to torrential rains, hail and even whirlwinds during the afternoon in the centre of the country, meteorologists said.

The warning came after the capital registered another record-breaking maximum of 34.7 Celsius (94.5 Fahrenheit) the day before.

The state National Water Commission (Conagua) reported that eight Mexican states will face intense rains, but that areas such as the State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Puebla and Querétaro could receive gusts of winds and tornadoes between 50 and 70 kilometres (31 to 43 miles) per hour and the possible formation of vortices.

At least a dozen cities in Mexico have already broken records for high temperatures in recent days, in a pressing heat wave that has caused at least 48 deaths from heat stroke and dehydration in two months, according to the Ministry of Health. More than 950 people have suffered various health effects over the same period, according to the health ministry.

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The intense heat has caused blackouts for several hours in some areas of Mexico, mainly the north, and has led to the suspension of classes in states such as San Luis Potosi, in the centre of the country, where this week thermometers reached again 50 degrees Celsius.

Click to play video: 'Heatwave in Mexico causing Howler monkeys to fall from the trees'
Heatwave in Mexico causing Howler monkeys to fall from the trees

Howler monkeys, already a threatened species, are dropping dead and falling from the trees due to the extreme heat.

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It’s difficult to say exactly how many monkeys have died in the country’s southeast tropical rainforests, but local media report that as many as 85 monkeys have died so far.

Mexico City, located in a valley and with a population of more than 10 million inhabitants, has already broken temperature records three times so far this summer season, in the midst of a persistent drought that continues to test the country’s reservoirs of water and the electrical energy network.

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In the colonial city of Puebla, located about 80 kilometres from the capital, an unusual hailstorm and rain was recorded this week that caused destruction, flooding, falling trees and gusts of wind of up to 50 kilometres per hour, according to local authorities.

“Because the third heat wave of the season will predominate over the national territory, maximum temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius are expected in Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero, northern Hidalgo, Jalisco and Michoacan,” Conagua predicted .

This week, researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) had already warned that in the next 10 to 15 days the country “will experience the highest temperatures recorded in history,” which will worsen levels of pollutants in the affected areas due to the presence of ozone.

The heat is also worsening the effects of the drought, which already impacts more than 70 percent of the country to varying extents, according to CONAGUA data, with almost a third of the country affected by extreme drought, which can be lethal.

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