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Chile's capital faces heat wave, experts warn of more to come

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's capital and other regions are facing a heat wave, as meteorologists warn that extremely hot weather will become increasingly frequent in the country's austral summer.

Over six million inhabitants of Chile's capital Santiago have been enduring days of hot, dry temperatures made worse by the surrounding mountains blocking fresh hair to the city.

"The heat is very dense, you can't be on the street," student Marcela Rodriguez told Reuters. "Two minutes outside and you'll end up fainting."

Chile's climate agency officially declares a heat wave when temperatures stay above 33 degrees Celsius (91.4°F) for three consecutive days, agency official Andres Moncada said, adding that Friday and Saturday should see temperatures around 36-37 C.

The South American county's climate service office had already predicted a hot summer, in large part due to the cyclical El Nino weather phenomenon, which warms the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists have warned that climate change and El Nino are major drivers of extreme heat.

Amid the high temperatures in Santiago, many have escaped to the country's coastal areas, which are already filled with vacationers and summertime visitors from abroad.

An Argentine tourist said he escaped to a Chilean coastal area to avoid the high temperatures that were also being recorded in parts of neighboring Argentina.

(Reporting by Nicolas Cortes; Editing by Sandra Maler)