Mexico Braces for Its ‘Highest Temperatures Ever Recorded’

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Mexico could see record temperatures in the next two weeks, as extreme heat driven partially by El Niño blankets the country.

A lack of sufficient rainfall has left 70 percent of Mexico suffering from drought conditions, with a third experiencing severe drought, the national water commission said, as Reuters reported.

“In the next 10 to 15 days, the country will experience the highest temperatures ever recorded,” National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) researchers said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

In the coming two weeks, temperatures in Mexico City could soar as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit, said Jorge Zavala, UNAM’s director of the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change.

The capital city was one of several cities in the country that recorded its hottest day earlier this month, and most residents do not have air conditioning.

Since the beginning of the hot season on March 17, extreme temperatures have killed at least 48 people, with most dying from heat stroke and dehydration, Reuters said in another report.

Hundreds of others have suffered from sunburn and other heat-related conditions, according to health ministry data.

At this time during last year’s hot season in Mexico, three heat-related deaths had been reported.

According to meteorologists, a high-pressure heat dome over northern Central America and part of the Gulf of Mexico stopped the formation of clouds, leaving Mexico and parts of the Southern United States exposed to unrelenting sunshine and scorching temperatures, The Associated Press reported.

Warm, moist air was transported northward from the equator by tropical southerly winds, adding to the rare string of hot days.

The unusually high temperatures have killed people and animals, including threatened species like the endangered mantled howler monkey, who have been dying from what is believed to be dehydration in southern Mexico, reported Reuters.

Dr. Liliana Cortés Ortiz, a University of Michigan primatologist who is the vice chair of International Union for Conservation of Nature’s primate specialist group, said she was concerned about the plight of other species who are not as likely to be noticed, The New York Times reported.

Cortés Ortiz pointed out that, while species can adapt to changing conditions, things are happening “so fast, that it’s going to be very difficult for many species to adapt. There is not enough time,” as reported by The New York Times.

Scientists believe the increased temperatures — along with logging, deforestation and fires — may have combined to push the imperiled monkeys into smaller forested areas with lack of sufficient food, water and shade, The New York Times said.

“The animals are sending us a warning, because they are sentinels of the ecosystem. If they are unwell, it’s because something is happening,” said Gilberto Pozo, a biologist with nonprofit conservation group Cobius, as The New York Times reported.

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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