The heat index in Puerto Rico reached as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit this week, according to the National Weather Service, which says the region will continue facing extreme heat through the weekend.
Monday and Tuesday featured record-breaking weather for the island this time of year, as temperatures officially hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit, reported NBC News. The heat index, however — which describes how temperatures affect the body and takes into account both heat and humidity — peaked at 125 in the northern town of Donado.
Meteorologists are saying the heightened conditions are a result of a combination of weather, ocean patterns and man-made climate change.
“There’s emerging science indicating that there’s a connection to climate change here — the heat wave in Puerto Rico right now has been made at least five times more likely to happen due to man-made global warming,” said John Morales, a meteorologist at ClimaData and a hurricane specialist for NBC Miami.
A low-pressure system from Florida and a high-pressure system near Puerto Rico has formed a kind of “heat dome” and is remaining stuck, hovering over the region, according to Morales.
As the humidity also continues to rise, residents in Puerto Rico are becoming more susceptible to heat exhaustion and, in worse cases, heat strokes.
As more residents sought refuge indoors, electricity demand in Puerto Rico pushed the power grid over its limit and caused over 100,000 residents to lose power Tuesday night, according to ElVocero.com.
By Wednesday, electricity was reportedly restored in most places, reported PowerOutage.US.
“Being without power during extreme heat events is a serious risk, and can even lead to death,” tweeted Ada Monzón, chief meteorologist at Wapa Television in Puerto Rico.
“To minimize the likelihood of these interruptions, reduce your energy consumption if possible,” said Luma Energy, the company responsible for distributing power to the island.
The National Weather service reports that extreme conditions in the region could persist until next Tuesday.