Texas and Mexico sweltering under record high temperatures

A June heat dome has strained power grids on both sides of the border

Abe Asher
Thursday 22 June 2023 22:15 BST
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Mexico and parts of the US southwest are sweltering under record high temperatures that show no sign of abating as summer begins.

The heat has been especially intense in the state of Texas, where the towns of San Angelo and Del Rio both set records on Tuesday with temperatures of 114 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit (F) respectively. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which said it experienced an unofficial record demand for energy on Monday, asked users to conserve their energy usage on Tuesday evening.

ERCOT, which supplies energy to roughly 25 million customers across the state, has been under intense pressure since it was forced to implement rolling partial grid shutdowns during a 2021 winter storm in Texas that left millions of people without power.

But it’s not the only power grid struggling to cope with elevated demands due to the heat. Mexico’s energy authority also issued a grid capacity alert earlier this week as the heat has also driven record electricity demand there. Reuters reported that high temperatures in parts of Mexico reached 113F on Tuesday.

Local reports have indicated that a number of Mexican states have experienced blackouts over the last two weeks, but President Andrés Manuel López Obrador dismissed those reports in his daily press conference on Wednesday.

“There’s more consumption, but we don’t have any difficulties,” Mr López Obrador said. “There’s no problem. It’s our responsibility that there aren’t blackouts.”

According to weather forecasters, the heat isn’t expected to break anytime soon. AccuWeather has said that it expects the heat dome driving up temperatures in the Dallas area in North Texas to last through the rest of the month of June, while the projected high temperatures for the capital city of Austin are above 105 degrees each day next week.

The heat has already taken a significant toll. Reuters has reported that at least six people have died due to the heat wave in Mexico, while a US Postal Service worker in Dallas collapsed and died earlier this week.

While Texas and parts of Mexico are often sweltering in the summer, this kind of heat is historically atypical for the month of June. It is expected to become the norm, however, as the effects of climate change continue to worsen. A report by the Texas climatologist’s office projected the number of 100-degree days in Texas will be nearly double what it was between 2001 and 2020 by the year 2036.

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