Snow in Brazil

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Snow in São Joaquim, Santa Catarina. (August 2010)
Snow in Canela, Rio Grande do Sul. (August 2013)

Snow in Brazil occurs virtually every year in some cities of the high plains of the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná. They account for approximately 23,000 km2 (8,900 sq mi) and are the coldest cities in the country, where snow can happen when polar air masses no reach the region: São Joaquim, Urubici, Urupema, and São José dos Ausentes, among other cities such as Bom Jesus, Bom Jardim da Serra, Cambará do Sul, and Palmas.[1][2]

On 7 August 1879, the greatest snowfall ever recorded in Brazil happened in Vacaria, with more than 2 meters of accumulated snow.[3][4] Snowfalls like this are extremely rare in Brazil, the three below being the only ones that reached(or passed) 1 meter:

  • 7 August 1879, in Vacaria, Rio Grande do Sul, with 2 meters of snow.
  • 20 July 1957, in São Joaquim, Santa Catarina, with 1,30 meters of snow. Many times mentioned as the greatest snowfall in Brazil, due to the remote time of Vacaria's snowfall, in 1879.[5]
  • 15 June 1985, in Itatiaia, Rio de Janeiro. 1 meter of snow.[6]

Although snow in Brazil is normally reserved only to high elevation areas, there are also many reports of snow precipitation in low elevation locations such as Ijuí[7] and Porto Alegre[8] (330 meters and 10 meters above sea level, respectively).

Besides these three states, snow precipitation also occurs more rarely in São Paulo (last time in Apiaí in 1975[9][10]) and Rio de Janeiro (last time at Itatiaia, at the Pico das Agulhas Negras, in 1985),[11] thus making five states with snow precipitation reported in the country.[12][13]

The city of São Paulo has witnessed a phenomenon very similar to the precipitation of snow, the sublimation fog on June 26, 1918.[14] At the time, the water network froze in the city.

The phenomenon occurs mainly during the months of June, July and August. In this period, São Joaquim receives an average of 13,000 visitors from other parts of Brazil.[15]

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