Experts warn of hail, whirlwinds in Mexico after new heat record in the capital

  • World
  • Monday, 27 May 2024

People remove thick ice from a street following a hailstorm amid heat wave, in Puebla, Mexico May 24, 2024. REUTERS TV/Genaro Zepeda?

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - 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 center 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 kilometers (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.

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 center of the country, where this week thermometers reached again 50 degrees Celsius.

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.

In the colonial city of Puebla, located about 80 kilometers 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 kilometers 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% 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.

(Reporting by Marion Giraldo; Writing by Sarah Kinosian; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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