Some of the most populated cities of Brazil, like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, have just gone through the hottest January in several decades.
Porto Alegre, capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, had an average temperature of 33 C (91 F), the highest since Brazil's Inmet weather service started keeping records in 1916.
The cause of the soaring temperatures is a high-pressure system moving in from the Atlantic Ocean and generating strong, hot winds in Brazil from north to south, meteorologists say.
For its part, the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro is baking its way through the hottest summer of the past 30 years, with an average temperature in January that climbed as high as 36.5 C (98 F).
Over the entire metropolitan area, the average temperature recorded in January was 33.9 C (93 F), lower than in 2006, 2010 and 2011, the hottest in recent years for Rio.
In the case of Sao Paulo, the average temperature during the last 30 days was 31.8 C (89 F), equaling the record set in February 1984. EFE