Argentina sends workers home to ease strain of hot weather

January 13, 2022 GMT

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s government on Thursday told most federal employees to work from home and asked industries to cut production through Friday to safeguard an electrical system strained by a major heat wave.

The Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, saw temperatures hit 41.1 centrigrade (106 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, the highest mark in 65 years. The strain on the electrical grid may have contributed to a power outage that affected 700,000 people.

A decree published in the official gazette said most government workers should work from home starting at midday and it asked companies and private citizens to reduce use of electricity as well.

The government said the temperatures across much of South America were linked to the La Nina phenomenon, in which an upwelling of cooler water in the Pacific causes changes in weather patterns around the world..

Presidential spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti said officials were concerned that electricity use could reach 28.800 megawatts, surpassing the record of 27,234 megawatts set on Tuesday.

Cindy Fernández, spokesperson for the National Meteorological Service, said the “extraordinary” heat wave was affecting nearly all of the country except for the far south, as well as Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil.