Suffocating heatwave in Brazil creates fear for the start of summer. | Photo: Orato
.Temperatures may rise 5C above average
By Valentine Amanze
Authorities in Brazil are battling an unprecedented heatwave in almost 3,000 towns and cities across the country.
They have also issued red alarts in the affected areas.
The municipal authorities reported on Wednesday November 15, 2023 that Rio de Janeiro recorded 42.5C on Sunday – a record for November – stressing that high humidity on Tuesday meant that it felt like 58.5C.
More than a hundred million people have been affected by the heat, which is expected to last until at least Friday, according to BBC.
It reported that officials attributed the heatwave to the El Niño phenomenon and climate change.
The city of São Paulo saw average temperatures of 37.3C on Tuesday afternoon, the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) reported.
“I’m exhausted, it’s hard,” Riquelme da Silva, 22, told AFP news agency on the streets there.
“When I get home, it’s cold water, otherwise I can’t even get up because I’m so tired. It’s even hard to sleep.”
Dora, a 60-year-old street vendor, told BBC that the heat was “unbearable” for those who worked outside.
Inmet has issued red alerts for a large part of the country. These indicate that temperatures may be 5C above average for longer than five days and could pose a serious danger to health.
The heatwave, which comes more than a month before the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, has seen Brazil’s energy consumption soar to record levels as people try to keep themselves cool.
Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more intense in many places around the world because of climate change.
Meanwhile, the Earth is currently in an El Niño weather phase, during which time global temperatures typically increase.