MetSul Weather Center and ICECAP Special Report: Cold Spell in Brazil
One of the most important cold spells to affect Southern Brazil in recent times brought record low temperatures, widespread and severe frost as well as snow to the region. On Thursday (July 12th), the state of Rio Grande do Sul was whitened by frost.
The freezing temperature was associated to the same air mass that prompted the first snowfall to the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 89 years. Temperature in the city of Bage, state of Rio Grande do Sul, fell to minus 3,8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1955. Nearby, inside Uruguay, the national low in Mercedes was minus 6,6 degrees. At least three Uruguayans died in consequence of the cold temperatures. On Wednesday (July 11th), Porto Alegre, the state capital of Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, had one of its lowest ever recorded daily highs under clear sky conditions. The high only reached 9 degrees. In the following morning, the city awoke with frost inside the urban heat island, a rare fact not observed since July 14th 2000. The low temperature of 0,3 degree was the lowest since July 14th 2000. In the green areas of southern Porto Alegre, a 1.5 million inhabitants city, frost was intense and even the water has frozen in the ground. At midmorning ice could still be seen over cars parked in the streets. In some locations of the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, a region with over 3 million people, the frost was severe.
All over the state the temperature dropped to the freezing level, even in the coastal areas. In the city of Pelotas, frost was observed in the sands of Laranjal Beach in the Patos Lake. Authorities rushed to guarantee shelter to hundreds of people displaced by a flooding that affected some towns near the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre. The cold weather became one more problem to face after days of very heavy rain in northern Rio Grande do Sul that caused some rivers to burst their banks. One day after the snow in Buenos Aires, Argentina, snow was also recorded in three cities of the State of Rio Grande do Sul: Soledade, Arvorezinha and Itapuca. The snow fell for about one hour and was heavy at some times.
Residents from the hills in the state of Parana, closer to Central Brazil, reported to local meteorologists a brief snowfall. If confirmed, it would be the first snow to be recorded in the region since 1999. Temperature monthly anomalies are below average in the state of Rio Grande do Sul since May in the coldest climatic winter in recent memory.