Monkeys falling from trees and killer tornadoes – how extreme weather led to Mexico rally tragedy

monkeys falling from trees and killer tornadoes – how extreme weather led to mexico rally tragedy

A veterinarian holds a Saraguato monkey rescued from the jungle after at least 138 howler monkeys found dead in heatwave - Stringer/REUTERS

High winds that led to the deaths of at least nine people at a political rally are the latest example of the extreme weather that has been ravaging Mexico.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the country’s president, offered sympathy to relatives of those killed at a rival’s campaign event near Monterrey in a familiar refrain for a country beset by extreme weather-induced tragedy.

A devastating heatwave has gripped Mexico since mid-March, causing at least 26 deaths, nationwide blackouts and the escalation of an existing water crisis.

Ten cities have registered record-high temperatures, including the normally temperate, high-altitude Mexico City, which hit 34.3C on May 17.

Water shortages have been so severe in the Mexican capital that even the city’s traffic police have led protests over “intolerable” working conditions.

Around 85 percent of the country is expected to see highs of at least 40C this week, with around a third of the country reaching 45C or more.

The aggressive heat has been caused by a heat dome – a persistent and powerful system of high pressure – which has remained over a large area of Mexico.

Meteorologists say it has caused hotter-than-average ocean temperatures across the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico which have, in turn, raised temperatures of adjacent land areas.

The edges of heat domes often generate severe storms.

monkeys falling from trees and killer tornadoes – how extreme weather led to mexico rally tragedy

A boy cools off in the normally temperate, high-altitude Mexico City, which hit 34.3C on May 17 - Anadolu

The extreme weather has also hit the animal kingdom with at least 138 howler monkeys found dead in the state of Tabasco since 16 May.

With temperatures soaring, the monkeys have been suffering so badly from dehydration that they have been spotted falling out of trees in forests.

Gilberto Pozo, a wildlife biologist, told the Associated Press he saw them “falling out of the trees like apples” before they “died within a matter of minutes” on the ground.

The heat dome has caused blackouts lasting several hours in parts of the country.

A worsening water shortage throughout much of the country has also been exacerbated by below-average rainfall, dwindling water supplies and lakes and dams drying up.

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