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“Worst Ever” Heatwave Turns Deadly in Argentina

Posted by feww on January 1, 2014


Soaring temperatures leave at least a dozen dead, hundreds hospitalized in Argentina

A major heatwave affecting Argentina has broken seasonal temperature records, leaving at least a dozen people dead, with hundreds more requiring hospitalization in the past week.

Temperature have soared to as much 46ºC (115ºF) in the northern provinces, the highest ever for the season since records began more than 100 years ago.

The worst affected area is the province of Santiago del Estero (population: 900,000), and its six neighboring provinces of Catamarca, Chaco, Salta, Santa Fe, Córdoba and Tucumán.

Rising Average Temperatures

The provinces are located in the flat lands of the Gran Chaco, a hot and semi-arid lowland in the Río de la Plata basin.

The climate across the region is subtropical with a dry season and high temperatures dominating throughout the year. The annual average temperature has risen from 21.5ºC in the 1970s to more than 24°C in the past few years, with the daily summer temperature maxima rising to 50ºC.

Meantime, the temperatures in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires have climbed to about 39ºC, with the electricity demands continuing to set record highs, leading to power cuts due to energy shortages.

The power cuts are compounding the impact of heat as people are prevented from using fans and air conditioning.

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