Over the weekend, the island nation of Cuba set its hottest all-time temperature on record, according to the nation’s official meteorological agency.
On Saturday, temperatures spiked to 102.7 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3 degrees Celsius) in the town of Veguitas, Cuba, setting a new all-time temperature record for the island nation. The city of Jucarito also got up to 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit (39.2 degrees Celsius), which would have also broken the country’s old temperature record.
The tweet below is from Elier Pila Fariñas, a senior meteorologist at Cuba’s official meteorological agency, the Instituto de Meteorologia de Cuba (INSMET).
— Elier Pila Fariñas (@elierpf) April 12, 2020
Cuba’s previous all-time temperature record was set just last June, when it got up to 102.4 degrees Fahrenheit (39.1 degrees Celsius).
Several other all-time station records were broken on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week as well. The INSMET office in Camagüey (Cuba’s third-largest city) posted several other provincial and station records that were set last week.
In several cases, the previous provincial or station records were obliterated, with more than a degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) separating the new and old records.
Los agramontinos que vivimos en los municipios del interior de la provincia hemos soportado los días más cálidos desde que se registran datos meteorológicos en nuestra provincia. En la tabla se muestran los récords rotos en estos días. pic.twitter.com/ut6VuaQO7i
— Centro Meteorológico de Camagüey_Cuba (@INSMET_CMP_CMG) April 12, 2020
Warm, southerly flow has kept temperatures extremely warm across the Caribbean for several days. But late last week and over the weekend, light winds kicked in as well. In Cuba, like Florida, sea breezes often lead to daily shower and thunderstorm chances. When there’s an absence in wind, cloud cover often dissipates, leading to heat waves and drought.
Also, strong high pressure over the Caribbean – perhaps inversely linked to the unusually strong low pressure over the United States and this weekend’s major storm system there – suppressed air and further spiked temperatures.
The final factor in this weekend’s extraordinary warmth in Cuba: more than 90 percent of Cuba is experiencing drought, which undoubtedly played a role in last week’s extreme warmth. The map below, from INSMET, shows the wide scope of drought across Cuba. The worst of the drought conditions are in the western and eastern tips of the island nation.
“The shortage of rain over the last few days has favored the notable rise in temperatures,” said (translated from Spanish) Miriam Teresita Llanes Monteagudo, INSMET’s head told Cuban news site Cubadebate.
Temperatures are expected to remain above average over the next few days, according to INSMET. Temperatures are also extremely hot in the southeastern United States – several daily records were broken in Florida on Monday – and the two heat waves are directly linked to one another.