Wild Weather in South America
Portions of Peru, Chile, and Argentina have experienced some wild temperature extremes this past week or so accompanied by a few rare snowfalls in the high Atacama Desert region, higher elevations of Peru as well as on the beaches of central Argentina. Floods have occurred in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
On August 29th the temperature soared to 32.6°C (90.7°F) at Bahia Blanca, Argentina, an all-time record for the month of August. This follows a reading of -7.9°C (17.8°F) recorded on August 25th, their all-time record low for the month! The site has a POR (period of record) of over 100 years. Their normal daily range of temperature during August is 9.2°C-16.0°C (49°F-61°F).Weather conditions for the past 10 days at Bahia Blanca located on the coast of Argentina about 650 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires. According to NOAA extremes the previous record high for August was just 27.0°C (80.6°F)—but this may have been for just a particular 30-year period.
Table from OGIMET.
Santa Rosa, capital of La Pampa Province, Argentina reached an amazing 34.4°C (93.9°F) also on August 29th, just three days after recording a low of -1.3°C (29.7°F) on August 26th and a frigid -3.5°C (25.7°F) on August 23rd (normal daily range of temperature here during August is 9.4°C-16.8°C/49F°-62°F). Not to be outdone in the realm of temperature extremes, Villa Reynolds (also in Argentina) rose from -9.0°C (15.8°F) on August 25th to 32.3°C (90.1°F) by August 29th. These figures are similar to the kinds of wild temperature variations we see during the spring in the U.S. Plains states.
Meanwhile, a very rare snowfall accumulated in the high desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile on August 25-26. Located at 2500 m (8,250’) it is not unusual for cold temperatures to be measured here, but precipitation is very rare (being in the Atacama Desert, driest region of the world) and snowfall even rarer. The last report of snow here was in 1983. Snow was also reported on the beaches near Viedma, Argentina (about 150 miles south of Bahia Blanca) on August 23-25. Again, this was a first since the early 1980s. Map of the 500 mb temperature anomaly for the period of August 22-25 when the rare snowfall and cold snap affected the central coastal region of Argentina.
Although not so rare as the examples above, heavy snow accumulated in the Carabaya region of Puno Province in Peru as well. This area is located at a very high elevation (above 4000 m/13,200’) so snowfall is not uncommon. However, the recent fall was said to be the heaviest in 10 years and enough to collapse some roofs and result in the deaths of thousands of Llamas.A roof collapse in the Carabaya region of Peru north of Lake Titicaca as a result of the recent heavy snowfall there.
Photo by Julio Llerena.
Meanwhile, 171.2 mm (6.74”) of rain fell on Porto Alegre, Brazil from August 22-26, the equivalent of their normal August monthly total. Flooding caused the evacuation of 7000 from several towns in the region (State of Rio Grande do Sul).KUDOS:
Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for bringing much of the above to my attention and Stu Ostro at TWC for providing the 500 mb graphic.
Christopher C. Burt