• Outdoors Outdoors

Experts raise concerns over unprecedented temperatures as cities buckle under heat wave: 'This was something exceptional'

The oppressive heat caused blackouts that lasted several hours in some cases.

The oppressive heat caused blackouts that lasted several hours in some cases.

Photo Credit: iStock

It's only May, and scorching temperatures are already setting records in places like Miami and Mexico City.

What's happening?

A heat advisory was issued for Miami-Dade County on May 17. It is the earliest in the year a heat advisory has been issued for the city in 15 years, according to local media reports based on National Weather Service information. The combination of sweltering heat and humidity made it feel like more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit. 

According to Reuters, many cities in Mexico saw records broken earlier in the month, as the mercury climbed well above normal. Even Mexico City, the country's capital, which sits more than 7,000 feet above sea level, hit a high of 34.3 degrees Celsius (93.7 degrees Fahrenheit) on May 9 to break a record. 

The oppressive heat in Mexico caused blackouts that lasted several hours in some cases. "This was something exceptional that was not expected," Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said of the heat wave, per Reuters.

Why is this unprecedented heat happening, and why is it concerning?

Scientists think a strong El Niño is at least partially to blame for the historic heat. According to computer model forecasts, the buildup of relatively warmer waters in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean along and near the equator may transition to a La Niña later this summer or during the fall. 

Our warming planet is another contributor to this spring's scorching temperatures. An increase in the atmosphere's toxic gases is overheating Earth. 

Scientists concluded that last summer was the hottest in 2,000 years for the Northern Hemisphere. April this year was the 11th consecutive warmest month on record. According to USAFacts, heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths. 

Per Reuters, Mexico has already seen at least seven deaths from its record-breaking heat. On average, nearly 600 people die in Miami-Dade County every summer from extreme heat, according to a NASA website.

What can be done about this record-breaking heat?

Changes in how we live each day can help reduce toxic gases and pollution that are warming our planet. Something as simple as talking to friends and family about climate is a good beginning. 

Changing how you take care of your yard and making an effort to support brands and products that are helping the environment also go a long way. Changing the way we all get around can help, too.  

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider