Power cuts and schools closed: South America suffers from “worst drought in fifty years” with temperatures reaching “48 degrees and more” | Science & Planet

Power cuts and schools closed: South America suffers from “worst drought in fifty years” with temperatures reaching “48 degrees and more” | Science & Planet
Power cuts and schools closed: South America suffers from “worst drought in fifty years” with temperatures reaching “48 degrees and more” | Science & Planet
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Several countries in South America are experiencing a heat wave. Mexico’s National Water Commission reports temperatures reaching “48 degrees and more” in some regions. The South American country, which is experiencing a heat wave for the second time this year, is fighting no fewer than 159 wildfires throughout the country and is experiencing power outages. Costa Rica and Ecuador were even forced to ration electricity.

Mexico is fighting 159 wildfires across the country. The forest fires have spread over an area of ​​75,474 hectares, according to the Mexican forestry agency Conafor. Thirty fires are raging in protected nature reserves.

The high temperatures have also greatly increased electricity consumption, causing the electricity grid to become overloaded. “The demand is higher than the capacity produced,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Thursday.

The national grid operator declared a state of emergency for the power grid on Thursday for the second time in a week. Parts of the country, including the capital Mexico City, the neighboring state of Mexico and the states of Michoacán, Tamaulipas and Campeche, are experiencing power outages.

LOOK. Extreme drought in Mexico turns more into desert

Moreover, some parts of the country are also experiencing drought. In and around the capital, a region with around 20 million inhabitants, the water supply had been interrupted several times in recent months due to lower rainfall than expected. Some schools, including in San Luis Potosi, are now closed due to the heat, according to El Universal newspaper.

Not only Mexico ravaged

A lack of rainfall is also affecting hydroelectric power stations in Costa Rica. The Central American country will therefore start rationing its electricity from Monday. The authorities announced this on Thursday. The measure will remain in force indefinitely, until sufficient rain falls again. It has been since 2007 that Costa Rica had to ration electricity. Just like now, authorities then also pointed to El Niño, the recurring natural phenomenon in which the warming of sea water in the Pacific Ocean along the equator affects the weather in large parts of the world.

The drought has a major impact on electricity production in Costa Rica, as it is highly dependent on hydroelectric power stations. At 99 percent, virtually all electricity production in Costa Rica comes from renewable sources, of which hydropower is by far the most important: three-quarters of electricity comes from hydroelectric plants. These power stations use flowing water to set a turbine in motion.

“This is a drought that we have not seen in fifty years,” explained Berny Falles, hydroclimatology expert at the Costa Rican state electricity company ICE.

For the same reason, Ecuador was also forced to ration electricity for more than two weeks, with power cuts of up to 13 hours. At the beginning of this week, heavy rainfall already brought relief there.

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Tags: Power cuts schools closed South America suffers worst drought fifty years temperatures reaching degrees Science Planet

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