Central Chile to endure unusual snow, record cold this weekend

14:44   15 July 2017    1216

A bitter blast of frigid air will plunge into central Chile this weekend, causing snow to fall at unusually low levels and putting records in jeopardy.

The capital of Santiago is among the communities that may see snow and temperatures plunge to record levels after a cold front swings through and opens the door for frigid air to arrive.

As periods of rain stream into central Chile on Saturday, enough cold air will arrive for the rain to occasionally mix with or change to snow into the evening.

"There could be a light coating on non-paved surfaces, which would include car tops, lawns and tree branches," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.

San Fernando, Rancagua, Melipilla and San Felipe could also see snowfall on Saturday into Saturday evening.

Heavier snow will further bury the nearby mountains, according to Miller.

"Totals of 30 to perhaps as high as 90 cm (1 to 3 feet) will fall," he said. "The ski resorts will love it."

Santiago has not had snow since 2011, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

"So while snow in the capital is unusual, it is not unheard of," he said. "There was also another instance of snow whitening Santiago in 2007."

While the snow is expected to struggle to stick to roads and sidewalks, motorists and those traveling by foot may still encounter slick conditions on Saturday night.

"As temperatures fall below freezing, any wet surfaces can turn icy," Miller said.

Temperatures will continue to plummet overnight down to 6 below zero C (lower 20s F) in downtown Santiago.

That would break the all-time record low of 4.6 below zero C (23.7 F) from July 1924 at the Quinta Normal station (the official weather observation site in downtown Santiago), according to data obtained by the Chilean Meteorological Office.

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