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“Heat dome” causes sweltering temperatures in Mexico, Central America and the US.

“Heat dome” causes sweltering temperatures in Mexico, Central America and the US.

The extreme heat in Mexico, Central America and parts of southern USA It has left millions of people in sweltering temperatures, overloaded power grids and caused iconic howler monkeys in southeastern Mexico to fall from trees and die.

Meteorologists said the conditions have been caused by what some call a heat dome — an area of ​​strong high pressure centered in the southern Gulf of Mexico and northern Central America that prevented the formation of clouds, much sun and high temperatures. This extreme heat occurs in a world that is rapidly warming due to greenhouse gases, which come from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal.

High temperatures extend along the Gulf of Mexico to parts of the United States, including Texas and Florida. This heat wave comes just as thousands of people in Texas remain without power after thunderstorms hit parts of the state last week.

Shawn Bhatti, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Miami, said southerly winds coming from the tropics transported warm, moist air northward from the equator, which contributed to unusually warm conditions.

In South Florida it has been warmer than normal. Miami International Airport recorded a high temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit) on May 19, five degrees warmer than the 30 degrees Celsius (86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit) that Miami normally sees this time of year.

A heat advisory issued by the NWS went into effect Thursday for certain areas of Texas. Temperatures along the Rio Grande are expected to rise to 111 degrees Fahrenheit (43.9 degrees Celsius) and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) in the Davis and Chinati Mountains.

Experts expressed concern about what effect the ‘heat dome have on ocean water temperature and its influence on the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.

According to Andrew Kruczkiewicz, principal investigator at the Columbia University School of Meteorology, the region is moving from an El Niño phase, in which tropical cyclone activity usually reduces in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic, to one of La Niña, in which the probability of this type of storm increases.

The academic added that extreme heat adds another ingredient to the risk of tropical cyclone activity this season, as these storms are fueled by warm ocean temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday that there is an 85% chance that the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1, will be above average.

In Mexico, the intense heat wave has been linked to the deaths of more than twenty people since March but the situation is expected to worsen at the end of this week and next.

According to Mónica Eréndira Jiménez, from the Mexican National Meteorological Service, it will be one of the longest and most worrying heat waves of 2024 because it affects the majority of the country. In May, more than 46 locations recorded record temperatures.

The situation is especially serious in places like Mexico City, which on May 9 recorded a record high temperature of 34.3 degrees Celsius (nearly 94 degrees Fahrenheit) and is expected to reach 35 Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in the coming days. .

In the capital, heat combines with pollution, so ozone concentrations are expected to increase, warned the climate change program of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The impacts on wildlife have surprised scientists, who reported the deaths of more than 130 howler monkeys in the southeastern jungles and increased bird mortality in the northern part of the country, probably caused by heat combined with other factors.

With below-average rainfall across most of the country this year, lakes and dams are drying up and water supplies are running out in many places, sparking protests. One of the latest involved Mexico City police officers who temporarily blocked six lanes of traffic on a major avenue in the capital on Wednesday to complain that there was no water in their police stations and the bathrooms were unusable.

On several occasions, authorities have had to transport water in tanker trucks to some hospitals and firefighting teams.

Low levels at hydroelectric dams have contributed to blackouts in some parts of the country, and this week OXXO, the nation’s largest convenience store chain, began limiting ice purchases to two or three bags per customer in some places.

Mexico’s National Weather Service is predicting another heat wave for June, but it is expected to be shorter and not as severe as the current one.

In Guatemala, the heat combined with forest fires caused authorities to take the unusual decision of prohibiting outdoor activities in schools in the capital due to poor air quality.

Nearby countries, such as Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, are also experiencing abnormally warm temperatures due to this high pressure area.

It may interest you

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  • Fourth cold of the year: the temperatures expected in the jungle
  • High temperatures and heat alert in the state of Florida

Source: Gestion

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