Record high heat index of 62.3 °C in Rio de Janeiro

The heatwave choking Brazil has set new records, with the heat index in Rio de Janeiro reaching 62.3 °C, the highest in a decade, meteorological authorities said, AFP reported.

The heat index measures the temperature felt, considering humidity. The actual maximum temperature in the city was 42 ºC, the Alerta Rio weather system said.

The record of 62.3 °C was recorded in Rio's west at 9:55 a.m. local time and is the "highest score" since Alerta Rio began keeping such records in 2014.

The iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana were packed with people, and authorities issued advice on coping with the heat.

"I'm very afraid it's going to get worse because the population is increasing a lot and deforestation is very high because of the increase in housing," complained Raquel Correa, 49, an administrative assistant at a park in downtown Rio.

The previous heat index record was set in November, when it reached 59.7°C.

Meanwhile, extreme rains have devastated the southern part of the country and are forecast by authorities to continue into next week.

"The week will be very high risk in central southern Brazil due to intense rains and storms. The most worrisome system is a very intense cold front that will arrive with heavy rains and possible storms," warned weather information agency MetSul. / BGNES