Argentina Heat Wave Rivals Record Highs

December 22, 2011; 12:23 PM ET
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Image by Vivian Seefeld/

Blistering heat with temperatures near all-time highs baked a wide area of northern and central Argentina on Wednesday.

The life-threatening heat, having temperatures to at least 115 degrees, spread over some key growing areas in which crops have already been stressed by recent heat and low rainfall.

While relief was in store, borne of a sluggish north-bound cold front triggering thunderstorms, it was not before at least one more excessively hot day in many areas on Thursday.

At San Miguel de Tucuman, Wednesday's high of 43.7 degrees C (110.7 F) exceeded the standing all-time maximum of 42.1 degrees C (107.8 F), according to data accessed on the Argentina's National Weather Service website.

La Rioja, which hit 46.0 degrees C (114.8 F), as well as the city of Cordoba, whose airport reached 42.4 degrees C (108.3 F) also rivaled all-time highs.

Other hot spots were Chamical and Santiago del Estero, at 112 degrees.

Stifling heat also spread eastward and northward, covering much of Uruguay, Paraguay and neighboring southern Brazil. Highs of 100 to 105 degrees were the rule with hot spots reaching about 110 degrees.

Summer crops, such as corn and soybeans, in Argentina's fertile breadbasket have been stressed by low December rainfall in tandem with recent heat, according to commodities forecaster Dale Mohler.

Northern parts of the bread basket, taking in a swath of Cordoba, Santa Fe and northern Buenos Aires provinces, withstood severe heat on Wednesday. An overnight cold front then brought the heat wave to an end, although welcome thundershowers afforded only localized drought relief.


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