Cold wave sends Amazon temperatures to icy depths

July 19th, 2010

Temperatures in Puerto Maldonado this weekend dropped as low as 10°c (50°f) as cold air swept down from the icy Andes in a phenomenon that is often seen at least once each year.

Peruvian weather service Senamhi informs that the cold snap will prolong until the middle of this week when tropical temperatures will start to return.

The weather phenomenon that brings cold air, wind and rain to the otherwise steamy Amazon rainforest is often met with confusion by tourists who find the air temperature beneath the cloudy Amazon skies to be colder than that of the thin-atmosphere Andes and their blue skies they experienced days or hours earlier. Locals on the other hand know to reach for and dust off their one and only sweater.

While towns like Puerto Maldonado that sit at the foot of the Andes bare the brunt of the cold temperatures, places further away also experience the unusual weather. Pucallpa in the department of Ucayali reported temperatures of just 15°c (59°f).

Puerto Maldonado’s minimum temperature usually hovers between 20°c and 22°c, with the average top temperature of around 30°c (86°f). Cities such as Pucallpa and Iquitos experience lower and upper temperatures of perhaps a few degrees higher.

Peru’s southern Andes are experiencing a more prolonged yearly cold wave. Temperatures in higher altitude parts of Puno and Cusco have fallen to around -20°c (-4°f), causing numerous infant deaths as impoverished locals struggle to cope.

Tags: , , , , , ,