– The extreme heat smothering much of Mexico has killed dozens of people across multiple states over recent weeks, the country’s health ministry said in a report published on Thursday, with hotter temperatures forecast for coming days.

Mexico has been reeling from a high-pressure weather phenomenon known as a “heat dome,” which has trapped hot air over much of the country, creating record-breaking temperatures that have surpassed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in some places.

Heat-related causes killed 22 people between May 12 and 21, according to preliminary figures shared by Mexico’s health ministry.

The 10-day period overlapped with the second and third heat waves out of five forecast for March to July by the country’s top weather agencies. The third heat wave is ongoing.

The new deaths bring the toll from the extreme temperatures to 48 since the hot season began on March 17, mostly due to heat stroke and some to dehydration. At the same point in Mexico’s hot seasons of 2022 and 2023, the health ministry had reported just two and three heat-related deaths, respectively.

Health ministry data also shows hundreds more people have survived heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration and other heat-related conditions.

Sweltering heat has exacerbated a nationwide drought and strained Mexico’s power grid, with monkeys dropping dead from trees due to suspected dehydration.

Imminent relief is not yet on the horizon, according to researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Mexico could experience its hottest temperatures on record in the next 10-15 days, the researchers said on Wednesday. – Reuters