Parts of Chilean Patagonia covered by nine feet of snow; 6.500 feared isolated
President Sebastián Piñera declared much of La Araucania in Chilean Patagonia, disaster areas on Wednesday, as four days of non-stop snowfall have isolated the region’s predominantly rural communities and wreaked havoc on basic utilities.
“The government has resolved to help those affected, especially those living in Lonquimay,” Piñera said on Wednesday. “We declare the zone a disaster area in order to give us greater tools to help our fellow Chileans.”
Lonquimay, the borough with the second most extensive area in Chile, was affected by a polar front that submerged the town of just over 10,000 into chaos.
Intermittent since Sunday, the snowfall has piled as high as nine feet in some areas. 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.
Mayor Guillermo Vásquez told local press on Wednesday that temperatures had plunged to -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in some of the more rural areas.
h/t to Marc Morano