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Deadly cold weather grips South America

Flurries of snow are even seen as far north as Brazil.

Last Modified: 24 Jul 2013 13:03
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This is the first time that snow has fallen in the Brazilian city of Curitiba since 1975 [EPA]

Polar air has blasted South America, causing temperatures to tumble and blanketing many parts of the region with snow.

At least six people in Argentina are now believed to have died due to the weather.

One of the victims is said to be a three-year-old boy, who was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning emitted from a heater.

In the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, temperatures on Monday night dropped as low as 1.6C, while in parts of the provinces of Jujuy and Mendoza, locals shivered in temperatures of -10°C.

Many southern parts of South America saw snow, including the Chilean capital of Santiago.

In Sierra de la Ventana, in the south of the Buenos Aires Province, the snow was so heavy that roads were forced to close.

Unusually, snow also fell further north.

In Bernardo de Irigoyen, the northern Argentinian state of Misiones, snow was reported and even in Brazil some flurries were seen.

Scores of cities of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul saw flakes of snow, some of which settled.

Cold blasts of weather are fairly common in South America at this time of year and are known as friagens, or geadas in Portuguese.

Friagens can travel all the way to the northern parts of South America.

In 2010, towns in the Amazon rainforest saw temperatures drop as low as 7C, when they wouldn’t be expected to drop below 18C.

In Boa Vista, near the border with Venezuela, temperatures struggled to reach 20 C, which is 5 degrees below average. This is impressive given that Boa Vista is north of the equator.

The current cold snap did not penetrate as far north, but was unusual in the amount of snow that it delivered. In some cities, such as Curitiba, this was the first time that snow had fallen for 38 years.

The cold snap is now easing across the region, with temperatures in Buenos Aires expected to return to the average by Friday.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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