PANAMA CITY – A heat wave is scorching a good portion of Central America, raising temperatures above 40 C (104 F) in some areas and spurring authorities to issue warnings of even higher readings.
Although this is a time of year when it’s usually hot, the desperation among the public is palpable on the social networks, where they post their complaints, while scenes of people out on the streets bathed in sweat and national electric grids taxed to the max with increased air conditioning demand have become commonplace.
Honduran authorities said on Tuesday that in the southern part of the country, where the heat is worst, there are reports of 40 C temperatures, while in the north the thermometers hover between 34 and 38 C during the daylight hours.
In the western province of Intibuca, the coolest zone in Honduras, the temperature is still 27 C, although normally the temperature there ranges between 16 and 24 C at this time of year.
The drastic change in the weather has caused the incidence of respiratory diseases to skyrocket, mainly among children and the elderly, and electricity demand has spiked with users complaining about the periodic collapse of the power grid and blackouts lasting up to 12 hours.
In Panama, temperatures have fluctuated around 34 C over the past few hours, but the heat index had ranged from 42 to a sweltering 47 C, the latter equivalent to a mind-numbing 117 F.
The state-run ETESA electricity company said on Tuesday that in April, the sun is almost directly overhead in Panama during the middle of the day, making April one of the year’s hottest months.
In Guatemala, the Insivumeh weather institute said that temperatures of up to 41 C were being felt in the eastern and northern parts of the country, while in the central zone the thermometer was at around 28 C.
The heat wave in Guatemala, the first of the year, began on March 28 and is predicted to last until at least Friday.
In Costa Rica, people are complaining about the heat on the social networks, despite the fact that high temperatures are normal at this time of year and the current temperatures are similar to in other years.
In the Central Valley, where the capital of San Jose is located, along with the country’s main cities, temperatures have been at 30 C in recent days in the morning, followed by rain – and even hail – in the afternoons in some sectors.
In El Salvador, 37 C was the high on Tuesday in the eastern part of the country and 30 C in the capital, with sporadic downpours and thunderstorms forecast in some areas.
Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, thermometers were at 38 C on Tuesday.