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MEXICO: Withering heat prompts warnings

May 27, 2011 |  1:53 pm

Heat mexico el universal monclova

Extreme temperatures are gripping much of Mexico, prompting warnings from health officials and causing concern among some residents over the absence of seasonal rainfall this week.

Temperatures soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in 11 states (link in Spanish) on Thursday, from Chihuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south. In Campeche, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the temperatures topped 112 degrees.

Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said that diahretic diseases have risen in recent days, as infection-causing bacteria in meat, vegetables, and dairy products flourish in the heat and many Mexicans are accustomed to eating meals at street stalls.

Officials warned residents to stay indoors in midday hours, wear hats outdoors, and to drink water "constantly." The National Meteorological Service forecast (link in Spanish) temperatures for Friday above 100 degrees in 18 states.

In metropolitan Mexico City, home to millions of smog-causing automobiles and large and active industrial sectors, the day was baking hot once more on Friday. Temperatures read at 83 degrees at 1 p.m. but "felt" like 97 degrees, according to AccuWeather. The forecast for Saturday could bring heat that breaks the record temperature for the day set in 1919.

This city is not a pleasant place in high heat. The Metro system — one of the largest and busiest in the world, with more than 4 million riders a day — does not have air conditioning, nor do most taxi cabs or buses. Commutes are correspondingly miserable.

Worse, at least for residents of the capital, there's been little to no rainfall across the Valley of Mexico in weeks. The rainy season usually runs from May through September, bringing afternoon-to-evening showers on a reliably daily basis for much of subtropical Mexico. But so far, in late May in Mexico City, there've been some electrical storms here and there, some droplets, but no significant rain. 

Complaints and bewilderment over the weather are popping up across Mexico via Twitter.

"You can study indigenous cultures and do the rain dance, all of Monterrey would appreciate it," said one Twitter user in Mexico's third largest city.

"Let's all do the rain dance to get rid of this heat!" said another user in Campeche.

Any day now?

Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Trying to keep cool in Monclova, Coahuila. Credit: ElUniversal.com.mx

 

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