A cold snap covered southern Brazil in snowfall and freezing rain, a rare occurrence for the normally balmy country. Frigid air rushing north from the Antarctic region caused the unusual weather pattern that impacted at least 43 cities on on July 28 and 29, reports Dharna Noor for Gizmodo. The last time a blizzard blew through Brazil was in 1957, when a total of 4.3 feet of snow accumulated in the state of Santa Catarina, reports Sudiksha Kochi for USA Today.
Many Brazilians took to social media to share photos of the snow accumulating along the streets of Brazil and trees slicked with thick ice. Many videos and photos showed areas dusted with up to an inch of snow, reports Maura Kelly for AccuWeather. For some, the snowfall is the first time they have ever experienced the winter phenomenon.
Wild to see this level of snow in Brazil…sometimes happens in the south but not so widespread like this. Big cold blast from Antarctica. Omen? pic.twitter.com/f60mAgjZDu— Dr. Benjamin Braddock (@GraduatedBen) July 29, 2021
"I am 62 years old and had never seen the snow, you know? To see nature's beauty is something indescribable," local truck driver Iodor Goncalves Marquez tells TV Globo network, via Reuters.
Winter settles over the Southern Hemisphere during June, July, and August. While blizzards and freezing temperatures are not common in Brazil, they occasionally occur during winter months, reports Ella Glover for the Independent. Normal temperatures in Brazil this time of year range from 47 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Some cities like in Bagé and Santa Maria ranged from 30 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, with the lowest temperatures reaching Caxias do Sul at 27 degrees Fahrenheit on average, per AccuWeather.
The low temperatures and snowfall have also threatened Brazil's agriculture with frost as cold air travels northward. The global agricultural powerhouse's sugar cane, coffee, and citrus crops are all at risk, and international prices for coffee and sugar have already risen, reports Insider's Rachel Hosie.
"With the polar air mass strengthening, it is getting even colder in most of the agricultural producing regions of center-south Brazil," Marco Antonio dos Santos, an agrometeorologist at Rural Clima, tells Reuters' Ana Mano. "As such, the chances of frosts in coffee, sugarcane, and orange areas increased dramatically."
Per Reuters, Sao Paulo's sugar belt reported frost had affected 15 to 30 percent of the sugar cane crops, possibly leading to lower harvest amounts, according to the Brazilian agriculture federation FAPESP.
Estimates from the Brazilian government stated that the frosts affected between 370,000 to 490,000 acres in total, or about seven percent of the country's arabica coffee crops, Reuters reports. On July 30, residents braced themselves for the coldest day of the year accompanied by 49 miles per hour winds, Insider reports.
"It was worth it. Actually, you almost do not feel the cold because of how exciting the snow is. It is marvelous, it is marvelous!" says Joselaine da Silva Marques, a Cambara do Sul local, to TV Globo, via Reuters.