Red alert issued for extreme heat in Chile’s Santiago Metropolitan Region

Red alert issued for extreme heat in Chile's Santiago Metropolitan Region

Officials have issued a Red alert for extreme heat in Chile’s Santiago Metropolitan Region, with temperatures expected to remain high through at least February 2, 2024.

The Santiago Metropolitan Region, home to approximately 7 million people, is currently facing a severe heatwave, with officials issuing a Red alert — the highest level on a three-tier scale — for extreme heat that is forecast to persist through at least February 2, 2024. On Monday, January 29, the capital recorded temperatures of 33 °C (91 °F), with Wednesday, January 31, expected to be the hottest day, reaching 35 °C (95 °F).

With the UV index registered as “extreme,” authorities are advising residents to stay indoors, remain hydrated, and keep cool. The National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (SENAPRED) cautioned about the increased risk of forest fires in the region as ongoing oppressive heat and dry conditions are likely to create ideal circumstances for wildfire growth throughout the region.

Heatwaves pose a significant threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory illnesses, due to the heightened risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Even relatively healthy individuals could face health risks during such significant heatwave events.

The heat may also cause damage to road surfaces and lead to more frequent vehicle overheating, exacerbating traffic problems in already congested urban areas. Commercial trucking may face disruptions due to increased vehicle stress, leading to more common tire blowouts.

While major flight disruptions at regional airports are unlikely, general aviation disruptions are possible, and some airfreight carriers might reduce cargo loads due to the heat.

The high temperatures could also spike electricity demand, potentially triggering localized brownouts or blackouts, which would worsen conditions when air conditioning becomes unavailable.


1 Chile puts capital on red alert as heatwave hits Santiago – ABS/CBN – January 30, 2024

2 Chile: High temperatures forecast in the Santiago Metropolitan Region through at least Feb. 2 – Crisis 24 – January 29, 2024


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