Heat-related deaths have taken the lives of six people in Mexicali, Baja California, in the last 25 days, according to state officials.
Temperatures in the border city have been hovering at or above 38 C for the last several weeks, with the city experiencing 48 C temperatures on July 12, the highest temperature in the country. Officials say that temperatures in Mexicali will average 46 C this week and but with humidity levels that will make it feel even hotter.
Older people and children are especially susceptible to the heat, but the six deaths reported have not all been older people. In June a 19-year-old, a 23-year-old, and a 35-year-old died along with three other men aged 53, 55, and 60. All of the victims have been men, some were migrants at the border, some seem to have been locals with prolonged exposure to the extreme heat, and possibly homeless. The state also reported that there have been 57 cases so far this summer of heatstroke, dehydration, and extreme sunburn.
Normally seasonal rains might have a chance of reducing the intense heat, but there has been little rain in the region so far. Sonora, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas received less than 1 centimeter of rain in a recent 24-hour period and the National Meteorological Service says that periodic climate patterns of “La Niña,” which the area is experiencing this year, will most likely keep temperatures high until the end of the year. Northern Mexico is also facing severe drought, which the hot weather and dry temperatures are only aggravating.
Local officials are warning residents to stay inside if possible, stay hydrated, and keep their skin protected while outside. The signs of a heatstroke include a racing heart rate, headaches, high body temperature, dizziness, weakness, nausea, red skin, dryness, confusion, and a lack of sweat.