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Chile - 'White earthquake'

9 ft of snow in 4 days


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22 Jul 11 -  A snowfall so fierce that Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter called it a "white earthquake" buried communities, blocked roads, cut off food supplies, and wreaked havoc on basic utilities in Chile's central Araucania region.

Following four days of non-stop snowfall piling as high as nine feet (2.7m) in some areas, President Sebastián Piñera declared much of the region a disaster area on Wednesday.

Although this part of the country is no stranger to cold weather, Piñera described the current polar front as the worst the region has seen in 30 years.

The communities declared as part of the disaster area are: Lonquimay, Curralehue, Melipeuco, Curacautín, Pucón, Cunco, Vilcún and Villarrica, where around 16,000 people were left isolated.

"In four days we have had four months worth of snowfall," said Regional Governor Miguel Mellado in a television interview. "We've got a very difficult situation here."

"It is likely that in the coming days we could suffer from more bad weather fronts, more heavy snowfall, that make the situation even worse," said Hinzpeter.

In Lonquimay, a town of just over 10,000, temperatures reportedly plunged to -9.4 F (-23 C), freezing pipes and leaving much of the city without water.

Read  more:


or: h-as-nine-feet-of-snow-ncxdc-072111

Thanks to Kenneth Lund, Thomas McHart, Lucy Mendenhall and William Sellers  for this link

"The newspapers in the UK (some of them at least) are getting folks ready for what's coming their way next winter," says William.



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