‘Furnace’: Argentina roasts in record-setting heat wave

People are seen on the Casino beach in Mar del Plata, Argentina, January 11, 2022. Mara Sosti / AFP

  • Temperatures reached over 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power when power grids went down.
  • For several hours, it was the hottest place on the planet.

Argentina is facing a historic heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 ° F), making the country for some time the hottest place on the planet, straining power grids and forcing residents to seek refuge in the shade.

With temperatures reaching around 45 ° C (113 ° F) in parts of the South American nation, hundreds of thousands of people were left without electricity when power grids failed in and around the populated capital Buenos Aires.

“I came home and we had no electricity and the house was an oven,” said Jose Casabal, 42, who took his children to find a place to cool off. “So I took them to their grandmother’s to swim in the pool.”

Temperatures in Argentina, where the dry and hot weather brought on by La Nina’s climatic regime already hit crops, meant that for several hours it was the hottest place on the planet, replacing parts of the earth. Australia that cooled off overnight.

“Even early in the morning it was very hot, around 31 degrees,” said Gustavo Barrios, 34, of Tigre, sitting in the shade of a few trees. “I don’t have air conditioning in my house and we were with just the fan blowing hot air. It’s unbearable.”

Local leaders have warned residents to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, wear light clothing and stay hydrated.

“We have to be very careful these days,” said Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta.

Meteorologist Lucas Berengua said the heat wave was off the charts and could set records in the country.

“This is a heat wave with extraordinary characteristics, with extreme temperature values ​​that will even be analyzed after its completion, and it could generate historical records for temperatures and the persistence of heat in Argentina,” said he declared.

For some, this has raised questions about climate change and more extreme weather conditions. In recent years, Argentina has seen unusual amounts of forest fires around its main delta and the main Parana River drop to nearly 80 years of low water levels.

“I was always born here in a temperate climate and have seen how the temperature has changed over the years, and that’s not what we’re used to,” said Marta Lorusso, 59, architect.

“This with the low pressure is really killing me, I can’t stand it. I drink gallons of water and do what I can. And besides, without electricity. I don’t know what to do.”

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