A heat wave in Mexico has claimed the lives of at least 100 people in the last two weeks. According to Reuters, temperatures have risen to 122 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the country. The deaths have been due to heat-related causes including heat stroke and dehydration.
For comparison, last year during the same time, only one death caused by a heat-related illness occurred in Mexico.
According to a report from the Dirección General de Epidemiologia (DGE), the highest number of heat-related deaths in Mexico between March and June was 64 in the northern border state of Nuevo León. The DGE also reports that 1,559 cases of heat-related illness were reported during this time.
“[Heat waves] are getting hotter,” said Kai Kornhuber, adjunct scientist at Columbia University and scientist at Climate Analytics, a climate think tank. “They are occurring at a higher frequency, so that also increases the likelihood of sequential heat waves.”
Temperatures have started to fall in recent days because of some much-needed rain, but not all parts of Mexico have experienced any relief. On Wednesday (June 28), the state of Sonora hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The extreme heat wave is also being felt in the southern part of the U.S. in states like Texas and Louisiana. The temperatures are causing major problems for Texas’ power grid. Currently, the state’s turbines are generating less than 1/10 of the wind they normally do because of the surging temperatures.
This week, the City of Laredo tweeted a warning to residents about the heat wave. “The excessive heat warning continues for south Texas,” it read. “Remember to drink plenty of water, never leave kids or pets in vehicles and be aware of any symptoms of heat stroke.”
If you suspect someone has heat stroke, please call emergency services and administer first aid until paramedics arrive. According to the CDC, they suggest moving the person into a shaded, cool area while removing extra outer clothing. Applying cold wet clothes on the “head, neck, armpits, and groin” will also help.