For a second day running it snowed Wednesday in Southern Brazil and in twelve of Argentina’s 24 provinces including parts of Buenos Aires as a consequence of the polar front covering most of the continent’s southern cone with zero and below zero temperatures.
Light snow storms in Brazil were concentrated in areas of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. O Globo network aired snow flakes falling in early morning, cars covered with a thin white coating and some roads dangerously slippery because of ice.
In Argentina the phenomenon extended to Northern provinces, geographically sub-tropical while in the Patagonia and along the Andes snow reached over a metre deep, isolating villages and causing yet undisclosed losses to crops and livestock.
The extreme cold weather is expected to peak Thursday dawn with below zero temperatures and even lower with the wind chill factor.
After a harsh weekend, Argentina’s National Weather Forecast Service announced the cold weather is expected to stay until Thursday although it could again reach a freezing peak over the coming week-end.
On Wednesday a northbound cold front hit the Patagonia and central Argentine regions. In Patagonia, minimum temperatures went as low as minus 10 Celsius with even lower numbers in snowy regions, while maximum temps were in the range of zero to 7 Celsius.
Because of the freezing temperatures power consumption set new records both in Argentina and Uruguay. According to Argentina’s Planning ministry, electricity demand reached 20.669 MW at 20:15 hours when most Argentine families are home back from work. Although residential demand was satisfied, hundreds of industries suffered an anticipated blackout.
In Uruguay the power record consumption was reached on Wednesday at 20:45. The lowest temperatures were registered in the north and west of the country: minus 7 Celsius.
In related news, reports from landlocked Bolivia indicate that to the east of the country in tropical areas temperatures plummeted to zero causing “millions of dead fish” in rivers that normally flow in an environment of 20 Celsius.
Santa Cruz governor Ruben Costas said the province was suffering a “major environmental catastrophe” and warned the population not to make use of water from rivers (because of the dead fauna and flora) promising to send drinking water in municipal trucks.
“The last time something of this magnitude happened was 47 years ago”, said governor Costas.