Heat and cold records broken in just five days in Argentina
Argentina broke records for heat and cold within a short window of just five days this week, with temperatures plummeting a jaw-dropping 30 degrees Celsius as a heatwave gave way to historic snowfalls.
A cold front from Patagonia caused temperatures in Buenos Aires to drop from a high of 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 degrees Fahrenheit) last Sunday to only 7.9 degrees Celsius (46.2F) on Thursday – a record low for the month of February since 1951, the National Meteorological Service reported.
The lowest ever was 4.2 degrees Celsius in 1910.
The South American country this week battled its eighth heat wave so far this summer with temperatures shooting up to nearly 40C (104F) in the center and north.
But in the same week, on Friday, snow fell for the first time since records began in the low peaks of the Sierra de la Ventana mountains some 560 kilometres (350 miles) west of the capital Buenos Aires, with a minimum of minus four degrees Celsius recorded in the town of the same name.
Record February lows were also recorded elsewhere as a mass of cold air from the South Pole entered central Argentina after crossing the Andes from neighbouring Chile, according to meteorologist Christian Garavaglia.
In just five days, Buenos Aires' streets turned from sunny to grey, from people wiping off sweat to donning coats.
The "extreme variability" was likely caused by a strong La Niña weather phenomenon, said Garavaglia.
He said La Niña causes the air and soil to be drier than usual, which makes for more extreme temperature swings.