Mexico hit by record freeze

Monday 07th Feb 2011 by theWeather Club

While the Australians are suffering under yet another natural onslaught as wild fires rage uncontrolled near the city of Perth, another country known for its sunny climate is enduring precisely the opposite problem. Mexico, a land known for tequila, mariachi bands and a tropical climate, has been hit by freezing temperatures. The country is split into tropical and temperate zones with the latter in the north becoming considerably cooler than the southern regions during the winter months. But all things are relative and a cool day in Mexico does not usually inspire bone chilling dread. But this year is different.

Freezing weather and drifting snow has paralysed much of northern Mexico this winter with the country hitting some of the lowest temperatures in over half a century. The cold weather has shut down units at 17 power stations across northern Mexico leaving thousands of homes without electricity and water. Schools and factories have been closed, while those factories in the region remaining open have been asked to reduce their power consumption. Among the worst-hit cities has been Ciudad Juarez, where temperatures in the border city have dropped as low as -18°C. "There have been cold temperatures in the past, but nothing that has lasted for so many days. It's been 40 years since the city has seen an emergency like this," the city's civil protection chief Efren Matamoros told Reuters news agency.

So far the freezing temperatures have claimed at least six lives. The conditions have even forced Mexico to withdraw an offer to temporarily supply electricity to Texas, where power stations have been hit by similar problems following unusually cold conditions. So it appears that wherever in the world you look at the moment local residents are having to cope with meteorologically interesting times.