German climate blog Readers Edition here has been keeping an eye on the winter in South America. While much of the news has been buzzing about the “record heat wave” hitting the US last week (a whopping 0.4% of the stations reported record highs! /sarc), Europe and South America for example are being left out in the cold.
No warming in sight. Chart source: http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp8.html
In South America, dozens of people have died from the bitter cold in 7 countries so far, just when cold snaps were supposed to be getting rarer and the heat waves more frequent. The cold is repeat of last year’s brutal South American winter.
Readers Edition writes (paraphrased):
In southern Peru, temperatures in the higher elevations of the Andes fell to -23°C. Since the beginning of last week 112 people have died of hypothermia and flu.
Coldest winter in 10 years
In Argentina the lowest temperatures in 10 years were measured – the temperature dropped to -14°C. At least 33 people died, some froze to death and some from poisonous gases emitted from faulty heaters.
Thousands of cattle freeze to death in fields.
It was unusually cold in neighbouring countries. In the tropical regions of Bolivia where temperatures rarely fall below 20°C (68°F), the temperature hovered near 0°C. At least four people died because of the cold. Two homeless persons died in Uruguay. Thousands of cattle froze in the fields in Paraguay and Brazil.
Natural gas shortages
In some areas of Bolivia and Peru, school was cancelled for some kids at the end of the week. Emergency shelters were opened for the homeless in larger cities. In Argentina some provinces faced natural gas shortages.
Heavy snow in Chile
Unusually heavy snows have fallen in parts of Chile. States of emergency have been declared in 8 communities with some buried in up to 3 meters of snow. In the south of the country about 170 people have become isolated from supply lines.