The Associated Press
Published: July 9, 2007
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Thousands of Argentines cheered in the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday as the capital saw a rare snowfall, the first of its kind since 1918.
Wet snow fell for hours in the Argentine capital without accumulating on Monday, after freezing air from Antarctica collided with a moisture-laden low pressure system that blanketed higher elevations in western and central Argentina with snow.
Argentina's National Weather Service said it was the first major snow in Buenos Aires since June 22, 1918, though sleet or freezing rain have been periodically reported in decades since.
The snow followed a bitter cold snap in late May that saw subfreezing temperatures, the coldest in 40 years in Buenos Aires. That cold wave contributed to an energy crisis and 23 deaths from exposure.
Two more exposure deaths were reported on Monday.
"Despite all my years, this is the first time I've ever seen in snow in Buenos Aires," said Juana Benitez, an 82-year-old who joined children celebrating in the streets.
One man stripped to his shorts to welcome the snow. Some fender benders were reported on slick suburban streets.
The storm struck on Argentina's Independence Day holiday, adding to a festive air and prompted radio stations to play an old tango song inspired by the 1918 snowfall, "What a night!"
"This is the kind of weather phenomenon that comes along every 100 years," forecaster Hector Ciappesoni told La Nacion newspaper. "It is very difficult to predict."