It's chilly in Chile

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

Snow­fall blan­kets cap­i­tal San­ti­ago with heav­i­est ac­cu­mu­la­tion in years

SAN­TI­AGO, Chile — Strong rains, thun­der­storms, big waves and snow­falls af­fected 14 of 15 re­gions in Chile on Satur­day, with the coun­try’s Na­tional Emer­gency Of­fice is­su­ing an alert.

Ma­gal­lanes, at Chile’s south­ern tip, was the only part of the coun­try that was not un­der a weather alert.

From early on Satur­day, strong waves hit the coast of the re­gions of Arica and Pari­na­cota. A weather sys­tem formed over the south­ern re­gion of Bio Bio, which saw thun­der­storms, es­pe­cially along the coast.

Chile’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal di­rec­tion is­sued an alert for thun­der­storms in the re­gions of La Arau­ca­nia and the coast of Ay­sen, while strong rains bat­tered Maule.

San­ti­ago and other towns around the cap­i­tal re­ported snow­falls, while the prov­inces of San Felipe, Los An­des and Val­paraiso are un­der a weather alert for sleet and frost.

The emer­gency of­fice also de­clared an alert for strong winds in the north­ern re­gion of Ata­cama, with winds reach­ing up to 100 kilo­me­ters per hour in the moun­tains.

San­ti­ago also saw strong snow­falls for sev­eral hours, with tem­per­a­tures drop­ping to -3 C, lead­ing to power cuts for 280,000 peo­ple.

The black­outs were mainly caused by trees and branches fall­ing on power lines, of­fi­cials said.

A worker died try­ing to clear ice, while two peo­ple were in­jured when they were elec­tro­cuted by a fallen power line, city of­fi­cials told lo­cal me­dia.

Chil­dren how­ever were de­lighted by the weather, and many headed out­doors to hurl snow­balls and build snow­men.

Sev­eral foot­ball games, in­clud­ing some Copa Chile tour­na­ment games, were post­poned un­til fur­ther no­tice, the pro­fes­sional foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion said.

MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP

Peo­ple make a snow­man in San­ti­ago, Chile, on Satur­day. An un­usual snow­fall sur­prised the in­hab­i­tants of the Chilean cap­i­tal, caus­ing power cuts and traf­fic jams.

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