The cold wave that hits Mexico has alerted the authorities, who have decreed orange and yellow alerts in the capital and forecast temperatures of up to -15 degrees Celsius with frost in mountainous areas in the north of the country. Although so far there have been no deaths from the storm, local governments have asked the population to take protective measures against low temperatures and, in the case of those who live near the coasts, to stay away from the beaches, because forecast storms and waves up to four meters high in southern and southeastern areas of Mexico. “We hope that on Wednesday we will have the third winter storm. This is a new front that, together with a polar trough, could cause snow and sleet to fall in the north of the country,” explains Berenice Pelaes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Forecast Center.
The polar front that has hit the United States hard – where it has left almost fifty dead – has also impacted Mexican territory and has caused low temperatures mainly in the north and center of the country. The National Meteorological Service (SMN) has warned this Monday that the “cold to very cold environment” will persist with temperatures -15 to -10 degrees Celsius with frost in mountainous areas in the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango and Nuevo León; from -10 to -5 degrees in San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.
The central zone will also register cold temperatures of up to -5 degrees in the mountains of the State of Mexico, Mexico City, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Tlaxcala and Veracruz. The Civil Protection authorities of the capital have issued orange and yellow alerts due to low temperatures in the Álvaro Obregón, Cuajimalpa, Magdalena Contreras, Milpa Alta, Tlalpan and Xochimilco, Azcapotzalco, Coyoacán, Gustavo A. Madero, Miguel Hidalgo and Tláhuac municipalities, where “temperatures of between 1 and 3 degrees Celsius are forecast between 04:00 and 08:00 on the morning of Tuesday, December 27, 2022,” according to the report issued this Monday. The authorities of the capital recommend that the population “wear at least three layers of clothing, preferably cotton or wool; use cream to protect and moisturize the skin against the cold, avoid exposing yourself to sudden changes in temperature, drink plenty of water; eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C.
In addition to the low temperatures, the SMN authorities forecast very heavy rains in Quintana Roo and Veracruz, Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Yucatán. In those southern and southeastern areas, winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour are expected and waves could reach up to four meters. In the case of Oaxaca, at least five communities have suffered power outages due to gusts and local authorities have reported that they are working with personnel from the Federal Electricity Commission to restore service.
The images collected by the local media show the population fully sheltered due to the cold, while civil organizations have expressed their concern about the situation in the poorest areas, including the migrant camps set up along the border with United States, which lack sufficient protection against the storm.
“Low temperatures have been associated with the arctic air mass. We have registered strong winds, gusts of up to 120 km in Veracruz. These conditions associated with this mass will continue throughout the winter season,” meteorologist Pelaes explained to this newspaper. In fact, experts have predicted at least 51 cold fronts for this winter period. Mexico now remains cooled by the 19th front. “The cold temperatures will continue,” warns Pelaes. The expert adds that the “Arctic air mass” continues to cover a large part of the national territory, for which she asks the population to stay informed about the reports issued by the authorities.
Mexico is affected every year by climatic phenomena that hit the north of the continent. Although this season has not been deadly, the country suffered one of its most intense cold waves in February 2021, which killed at least six people in the northern regions. “We cannot say that it is one of the coldest systems that have been recorded in the country, but in general this winter storm in the United States is one of the most severe in recent years and it reached us. It is rare, for example, for sleet to fall in the center of the country,” explains Pelaes.
subscribe here to newsletter from EL PAÍS México and receive all the key information on current affairs in this country