Rolling Blackouts Dim Several Cities as Heat Wave Scorches Mexico

There were rolling blackouts in multiple cities across Mexico on Tuesday, as people in several states reeled from soaring temperatures and the national energy authority briefly declared a state of emergency.

A heat wave has scorched Mexico in recent days, bringing temperatures in multiple states into the triple digits. Mexico City on Tuesday reached a high of 92 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest temperature recorded there on May 7 in over 20 years.

Mexico’s energy authority, Cenace, announced a state of emergency for the national grid early Tuesday evening, meaning that available power had dropped below adequate levels. It said less than an hour later that the system had returned to normal.

But local news media outlets reported on blackouts in municipalities across the country throughout the evening. Social media users uploaded photos and videos of darkened city skylines.

Local officials confirmed several blackouts in the state of Mexico, including in San Mateo Atenco and Metepec, near Mexico City. And during a blackout in the city of Nuevo Laredo, near the Texas border, they asked people to avoid driving.

In a statement, the national energy agency attributed the electricity shortage on Tuesday afternoon to a series of factors, including a drop in wind and solar power generation. Some power plants were also offline at the time, it said. The statement did not mention the heat wave.

An increase in nighttime demand later required rolling power interruptions across Mexico, the agency said. Electricity was gradually being restored starting at about 8 p.m., in a process that was expected to last until 11 p.m.

Mexico has experienced blackouts before, including during extreme weather events, such as hurricanes or heat waves. During power failures in the country last June, local officials reported hundreds of heat-related deaths even as federal and state governments underplayed them.

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