For the first time in 14 years, temperatures fell enough for snow to fall in Córdoba, the city located in central Argentina, and residents ventured outdoors to enjoy the once-in-a-decade snowfall.
Residents in Córdoba, the capital city of the province of the same name, took to the streets late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning to document the winter wonderland — and seized the rare opportunity to have some fun in the unusual wintry weather. Snowball fights broke out and snowmen could be seen in parts of the city, which is home to one of the oldest universities of South America and known for its Spanish colonial architecture.
“It’s lovely, we all saw the snow at two o’clock in the morning and this morning when we got up we saw all this beauty, it’s the first time I’ve seen so much snow,” Carlos Diaz told AFP. “It’s all so beautiful, let’s enjoy it.”
Precipitation started as rain just after midnight, local time, then mixed with and changed over to snow two hours later as temperatures dropped to freezing (32 F/zero C).
Pictures and videos captured by residents showed a coating to up to an inch or two (3-5 cm) of snowfall across the city.
As temperatures began to increase with sunrise, a period of freezing rain was reported before precipitation changed back to rain and the temperature climbed above freezing.
While snow is not unusual around Córdoba, typically wintry precipitation occurs more frequently in the higher elevations and not in the city itself.
“It is not totally unheard of for snow to occur in Córdoba,” said AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls, “but [snowfall] is very infrequent, perhaps happening once every 10 years or so.”
— Gobierno de Córdoba (@gobdecordoba) June 16, 2021
According to MetSul Meteorologia, Wednesday’s snowfall was the first recorded during the month of June, adding to the rarity of the event.
When snowfall occurs in Argentina it typically falls during the month of July, which is on average the coldest month of the year. Normal low temperatures in Córdoba during June are 43 F (6 C) and they drop to 41 F (5 C) in July.
“There’s been a big change in the weather because just a few months ago we were enjoying the swimming pool and now we are making snowmen,” Sergio Flores, another Cordoba resident, marveled. “We are really happy and we’ve never experienced anything like this.” Flores told AFP he was living in Cordoba the last time it snowed there, and that this snowfall was far more significant. “There was much less (snow), nothing compared to this.”
The National Meteorological Service of Argentina reported that in addition to Córdoba, snowfall was reported in the neighboring provinces of Mendoza and San Luis. Snow was also reported in the higher elevations of San Juan, La Rioja and Catamarca provinces to the northwest.
A strong storm system followed by a polar air mass created the setup for the rare snow event in Córdoba.
“The strong storm that led to snow in Córdoba on Wednesday was the same storm that brought light rain and snow to central and northern Chile Tuesday night into Wednesday morning,” said Nicholls.
“There will be a similar setup later next week, but unlike with this current event there will be a lack of cold air near the surface, so if there is precipitation around Cordoba next week it should fall as rain,” added Nicholls.
The last time it snowed in Córdoba was July 9, 2007, amid the coldest winter of this century so far in Argentina, according to MetSul Meteoroloiga.