Thursday, 7 February 2019

Extreme conditions in South America

Heatwave turns 'gateway to Antarctic' into beach town

5 January, 2019

Unusually warm temperatures in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego province, an area called the gateway to the Antarctic region, led officials to declare Tuesday a holiday and residents to the shores for recreation.

The area, which is undergoing summer, reached a temperature of 87 degrees Fahrenheit in Rio Grande Monday, about 1,400 miles south of Buenos Aires. 

Some people changed daily habits due to the heatwave in the area this week.

Some unusual activities "for these latitudes" have been seen, like sunbathing and swimming along the coast of the Argentine Sea and the Beagle Canal in Ushuaia, Sureno reported Tuesday.

Officials in Tierra del Fuego province declared Tuesday a special day off for government workers because structures are not built for warmer weather. Only skeleton groups worked at government agencies, Sureno's report said.

The highs this week in Tierra del Fuego were well above summer averages, which are around 50 degrees, La Nacion reported. Swimming in the Beagle Canal is also very unusual, it added.

The entire country is seeing higher temperatures this time of the year, which correspond to summer in the southern hemisphere.

Tierra del Fuego, which has a population just over 152,000, is an archipelago in the southernmost part of South America, with Argentina occupying its eastern part. It's located about 620 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula through the Drake Passage.

The Antarctic is an area claimed by different countries that mostly harbors research ships.

Its the headline of 2019: "Record" high temperatures causing massive forest fires in Chile as government declares a 'state of catastrophe'


the Big Wobble,
6 January, 2019

Chile on Tuesday declared a 'state of catastrophe' in three regions ravaged by forest fires that have killed two people and razed 10,000 hectares of land.

Declaring catastrophe in parts of Biobio, La Araucania and Los Rios paves the way for the armed forces to take part in the efforts to battle the blazes, said acting Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla.

He told reporters that the fires have "increased significantly," prompting officials to take more drastic measures.

"High temperatures, strong winds and low humidity have been factors" in sparking and spreading the fires, said Ubilla.

Over the coming days, "record" high temperatures are expected to spread the fires, he warned. President Sebastian Pinera on Monday cut short his vacation to inspect La Araucania, a region located some 679 km south of the capital Santiago.

"We won't abandon you," Pinera told local residents.

Two people were killed by the fires in La Araucania and 38 others have been moved to temporary shelters after their homes were destroyed.

During this summer season in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile has seen 92 forest fires, 45 of them are still active, another 45 have been brought under control, and two were successfully put out, the Interior Ministry's emergency management service reported.

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