Too much heat on the Borderlands
by Frontera NorteSur
Posted on July 24, 2009
Across the US-Mexico borderlands, unbearably hot temperatures and extreme weather events kept many people jumpy this week. Temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit prompted authorities to open emergency shelters, shut down swimming pools and issue health alerts. In the state of Coahuila, a high of 122 degrees was reported.
In Eagle Pass, Texas, where the thermometer reached 102 on July 21, Fire Chief Jesus Rodriguez urged the public to consume enough water and food as well as avoid direct exposure to the sun. Guillermo Soberanes Valenzuela, skin disease specialist for the Sonora State Health Department, issued a similar call.
Recommending special precautions be taken between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm, Soberanes suggested residents of the Mexican border state wear plenty of protective clothing, use sunglasses and carry umbrellas. Excessive sun exposure, Soberanes stressed, could result in both short-term and long-term health issues.
Problems connected to boiling weather cropped up in Mexicali, Baja California, where at least five people were treated for heat stroke by July 21. The high temperature was predicted to reach 111 degrees on July
23. Mexicali’s Integral Family Development Center served at least 20 people daily this week at an emergency shelter in the Nacionalista neighborhood. Besides cool space, residents were offered clean clothing and food.
Although the exact sites were not publicly disclosed, the Baja California State Health Department shut down some swimming pools in Mexicali because of the presence of amoebas that proliferate in high temperatures.
In 2006, 29 people succumbed to intense heat in Mexicali; most of the victims were migrants or indigents. An agricultural worker died in agony at a local health clinic the following year after suffering exposure to
Baja California proved fertile ground for five forest fires that broke out in the Juarez and San Pedro Martir mountains from July 18 to July 22. In the Paso del Norte region, meanwhile, flash flooding on July 21-22 once again exposed the deficiencies of flood control infrastructure.
On its website, an El Paso television station posted a photo of hail piling up in the “Sun City.” In nearby Anthony, New Mexico, streets were transformed into small lakes. The major thoroughfare near the University of Texas at El Paso was struck by heavy rain early on July 22, making dry crossings a virtual impossibility for pedestrians and difficult for drivers.
In 2006, major flooding struck the Paso del Norte when furious storms pounded the earth after a long dry spell. The floods impacted tens of thousand of people in El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and southern New Mexico,
additionally resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in property damages.
-- Frontera, July 22, 2009. Nuevo Dia (Nogales), July 22, 2009.
-- La Jornada, July 22, 2009. Articles by Antonio Heras and the Notimex news
-- Zocalo.com.mx, July 22, 2009. Article by Francisco Javier Garza.
-- Lacronica.com,. July 22, 2009. Article by Fernando Garcia.
-- Kfoxtv.com, July 22, 2009.
-- Televisa, July 21, 2009.
-- El Universal, May 19, 2009. Article by Rosa Maria Mendez Fierros.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico
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