Under Withering Heat Wave, Brazil Records Highest Single-Day Temperature in Country's History

Nov 22, 2023

What Does the Heat Index Mean?

A spring heat wave that’s covered much of Brazil reached a scorching peak this week. It has sparked wildfires and made droughts worse. And it led to the death of a fan at a Taylor Swift concert.  

Thermometers across Brazil read as high as 44.8 degrees Celsius (112.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday. That's the hottest temperature ever observed in the South American country. In parts of Rio de Janeiro, the heat index reached 138 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat in Rio led pop star Taylor Swift to postpone a weekend show. It happened after one of her fans collapsed from cardiac arrest. The collapse was due to the heat at the stadium before Swift’s Friday concert, officials said. The Swift fan died at the hospital later that evening.  

A Brazilian weather agency has issued extreme heat warnings for much of the country. It is citing “a high (chance) of major damage and accidents." It's also warning of risks to human life. The weather is forecast to cool off slightly later this week. But experts noted that forecasts do little to relieve the problems of the present. 

“The (true impact) of a heat wave during the week is not the pictures of crowded beaches. The (truth) of a heat wave is packed buses with broken air conditioning, public schools without (cool air) or a (working) fan,” Marina Marçal told The Guardian. She's a climate policy expert.

Normally the start of the rainy season in the Amazon wetlands, early November also saw heat-fueled wildfires linger in the region. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro reports that 1.9 million acres of wetland have burned in the last two weeks. That's 65% of the total fire spread this year. 

Reflect: What are some ways in which communities can prepare for and cope with extreme weather conditions like heat waves?

Based on the information in the infographic, the reader can conclude that if temperatures reach _______ degrees Farenheit a person is at the greatest risk of heat stroke. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. 80
b. 90
c. 103
d. 125
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