Brazil has recorded its hottest ever temperature – 44.8C (112.6F) – as parts of the huge South American country suffer through a record-busting heatwave, and that is even before summer starts.
The record was hit on Sunday in the town of Araçuaí, in Brazil’s south-eastern state of Minas Gerais.
The unprecedented weather has been attributed to the El Niño phenomenon and climate change.
Forecasters say some of the heat is likely to ease this week, but it isn’t just the heat, because with the heat come thunderstorms.
“The problem isn’t only the heat (that is dangerous, but) ferocious tropical storms, high winds and hail stones”, FRANCE 24’s Tim Vickery said, adding that Brazil has also witnessed landslides provoked by torrential rain in past summers.
According to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet), only three state capitals will see temperatures approaching 40C, CNN Brasil reported.
The government agency said Araçuaí’s high of 44.8C had beaten the country’s previous record of 44.7C, measured in 2005.
The heat has seen red alerts issued across the country, a month before the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere. Brazil’s energy consumption has soared to record levels as people try to keep themselves cool with air conditioning and fans.
Large swathes of the country were put under red alert this week by Inmet, the national meteorological institute, which warned of risks to health “and even life” as temperatures stayed at least five degrees Celsius above average for more than five days.
The dangers were brought into sharp relief by the death of a fan at a Taylor Swift concert on Friday night in Rio de Janeiro, at which thousands of other concertgoers reportedly had to be treated for dehydration.
Ana Clara Benevides Machado, 23, collapsed in the Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos stadium and died shortly afterwards, reportedly from a cardiac arrest, after sweltering conditions were reported at the venue where the temperature was far higher than the official 39.1C outside.
Machado had sought help at the stadium after feeling unwell. She was transferred to hospital but died one hour later.
Official research released two weeks ago showed that the average temperature in the country had been above the historical average from July to October.
Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more intense in many places around the world because of climate change.
According to scientists, heatwaves are becoming longer and more intense in many places and this is expected to continue whilst humans keep releasing planet-warming greenhouse gases.
Meanwhile, the Earth is currently in an El Niño weather phase, during which time global temperatures typically increase.
Sources: BBC, France24.