By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While temperatures cooled down slightly earlier this week, on Friday, January 9th they soared again, rising to 40 to 44 degrees Celsius (104 to 111 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas of the city. Adding to the heat, humidity levels were recorded above thirty percent in some areas.
With no rain in sight, according to meteorologists, the heat is expected to increase throughout the weekend, possibly reaching record highs on Sunday, January 11th.
Many predict that the continued heat will cause large groups of both locals and tourists to seek relief this weekend by heading to Rio’s numerous beaches.
Last weekend, the first weekend of the new year, when news agencies including, O Globo and Agência Brasil, published photos of the popular Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches’ shoreline covered under beach umbrellas and what appeared to be thousands of people, there were echoes of disbelief throughout social networks. Many questioned if the photos had been digitally enhanced with the popular editing software, Photoshop.
With no evidence of photo manipulation, the overcrowding on the beaches was attributed to both the heat and the high number of tourists in town to celebrate the New Year’s Eve holiday.
While temperatures will remain high this summer, meteorologist Daniele Lima, of Climatempo told O Globo; “Heat waves will occur, but they will not be as intense as in 2014.”
Last year’s high temperatures were caused by two locked masses of air that formed over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and prevented a cold front from moving in, an occurrence not predicted for this year.