Many cities have the highest temperatures since records began, sometimes reaching 45 degrees Celsius.
Parts of Argentina and neighboring South America have reached record temperatures as the region swelters under a historic heat wave.
“Nearly all of Argentina and also neighboring countries such as Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay are experiencing the hottest days in history,” said Cindy Fernandez, a meteorologist with Argentina’s official National Meteorological Service.
Many cities have recorded their highest temperatures since records began, with some zones warming to 45C (113F), according to the weather service.
“In Argentina, from central Patagonia to the north of the country, thermal values reaching or exceeding 40 degrees are recorded,” Fernandez said.
The heat and a prolonged drought have hit the grain-producing country’s crops, although there are hopes that an expected drop in temperatures next week will trigger a spell of rain to cool both plants and people.
The record-breaking heat is also straining the country’s electricity grid, local media reported.
In the Buenos Aires province around the capital, more than 75,000 users were without electricity on Friday, the Clarin newspaper reported. Argentina recorded the highest electricity consumption ever on Friday afternoon, the newspaper said.
“It’s another hellish day,” Elizabeth Bassin told Reuters news agency as she waited for a bus in Buenos Aires. “Anyway, we live a week of hot weather and it’s almost like the body gets used to that heat.”
Emanuel Moreno, who delivered soda, said he worked through the heat but needed to keep hydrated.
“Honestly, it’s very hot and heavy, but when you’re working, you don’t realize much. You realize that you are very thirsty and you need to drink a lot of water, water and more water, because if you don’t, you can’t go on,” he said.
US government scientists reported on Thursday that 2021 was the sixth warmest year on record, and they blame climate change entirely.
The last eight years were the eight hottest and the last decade was the warmest since records began in 1880, the US scientists said.
Fernandez, the meteorologist, said a warm air mass had formed over Argentina right in the middle of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We have many clear-sky days where the solar radiation is very intense and in a context of extreme drought that Argentina has been going through for about two years,” she said. “This means the soil is very dry, and dry soil warms up a lot more than moist soil.”