An early taste of winter in South America

Temperatures plummet in Argentina, southern Brazil and Paraguay.

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    Blasts of cold air from Antarctica are not uncommon in the cooler months in Paraguay [EPA/Andrés Cristaldo]
    Blasts of cold air from Antarctica are not uncommon in the cooler months in Paraguay [EPA/Andrés Cristaldo]

    People in many parts of South America have been shivering in the recent cold weather. Temperatures have been well below average for more than a week now.

    In Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, the average temperature at this time of year is 25C. However, the last time temperatures reached this was May 14. Since then, cold weather has gripped the country, with temperatures on most days getting no higher than 18C.

    The nights have also been cold, with temperatures dropping to 7C in the city, which is 7C below the May average.

    In order to avoid fatalities in the cold weather, authorities in Paraguay urged people to report anyone seen sleeping on the streets.

    Although chilly for the residents, the low temperatures are also having some beneficial effects.

    The cold snap is helping to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the region. This should slow the spread of dengue fever, which reached epidemic levels earlier in the year.

    The cold snap also brought the first snow of the season to the main ski resorts in Argentina. Bariloche is hoping for a good tourist season this year, after a number of disappointing years following the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in 2011.

    Cold snaps in this region are fairly common during the cooler months. They are known as friagens and can reach as far north as the Amazon basin.

    In 2013, a friagen brought the rare site of snow to southern Brazil. In the city of Curitiba, capital of the Parana state, this was the first time it had snowed for 38 years.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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