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In the 'hottest days in history,' Argentine towns burst

In the 'hottest days in history,' Argentine towns burst

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 14 (Reuters) - As the region swelters during a historic heat wave, cities and towns in Argentina and South America have set new highs.

"Practically all of Argentina, and many other countries like Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Paraguay are experiencing the hottest days in history," said Cindy Fernandez, a meteorologist at the official National Meteorological Service.

According to the weather service, many towns have reached their highest levels since the first record. Some zones have increased to 45 degrees Celsius (113F).

Fernandez said thermal measurements in Argentina are being recorded between the center of Patagonia and the north of the country.

The heat and the prolonged drought have hit the grains-producing country's crops, though there's hope that a decrease in temperature will bring a period of rainfall to cool both plants and people.

"It's another hellish day," said Elizabeth Bassin as she waited for a bus in Buenos Aires. "But well, we live through a week of hot weather and it's almost as if the body is getting used to that heat."

Emanuel Moreno, who was delivering soft drinks, said he was working through the heat, but needed to keep hydrating.

"Truthfully it is really hot and heavy, although when you are working you don't realize so much. You know that you are very thirsty and you have to drink a lot of water, water, and more water because if you don't, you can't go on," said the author.

Fernandez, a meteorologist, said a warm air mass had formed over Argentina, right in the middle of the southern hemisphere summer.

"We're having many days of clear skies where solar radiation is very intense and in a context of an extreme drought Argentina has been going through for about two years," she said.

"This means that the soil is very dry, and that the earth that is dry heats up much more than the soil that is moist."

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