Driven by a combination of an El Niño weather pattern, an intense heat dome, and the changing climate, much of Puerto Rico faced a heat index of over 100 degrees this week, with parts of the island dealing with a heat index as high as 125 degrees. Temperatures this high are especially dangerous when combined with high humidity since less sweat can evaporate and cool people down.
The National Weather Services issued Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories, which may become a more common occurrence this year. Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli told Inside Climate News that Puerto Rico’s heat wave shouldn’t be viewed as an isolated incident, warning other parts of the world should anticipate similar hot spells.
“As we go deeper into 2023 and El Niño intensifies, we should expect a stunning year of global extremes which boggle the meteorological mind,” he said. “The base climate has heated due to greenhouse warming and a strong El Niño will push us to limits we have yet to observe.” (Inside Climate News, Fox Weather)