It’s always winter somewhere.
Americans may find that hard to believe as much of the nation east of the Rockies swelters through this year’s most intense heat wave. But in Chile, parts of the country face, quite literally, the polar opposite: heavy snow and intense cold.
According to the Patagonia Times, a “polar wave has left up to nine feet of snow and possibly 6,500 people isolated.” The heavy snow caused Chilean President Sebastián Piñera to declare the affected region a disaster area.
“The government has resolved to help those affected, especially those living in Lonquimay,” Piñera said on July 20. “We declare the zone a disaster area in order to give us greater tools to help our fellow Chileans.”
The affected area lies several hundred miles south of the capital, Santiago. Located in northern Patagonia, the region regularly experiences snowy, cold winter weather. This week’s heavy snowfall, however, has been the most extreme in several decades.
“Intermittent since Sunday, the snowfall has piled as high as nine feet in some areas,” the Patagonia Times reported. “Although this part of the country is no stranger to the cold weather, Piñera described the current polar front as the worst the region has seen in 30 years.”