Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo hit by cold wave

May 20, 2022 GMT
Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Friday, May 20, 2022. The homeless population in Sao Paulo has increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent census shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Friday, May 20, 2022. The homeless population in Sao Paulo has increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent census shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Friday, May 20, 2022. The homeless population in Sao Paulo has increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent census shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Friday, May 20, 2022. The homeless population in Sao Paulo has increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent census shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
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Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Friday, May 20, 2022. The homeless population in Sao Paulo has increased 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent census shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

SAO PAULO (AP) — In Rio de Janeiro, bold swimmers have been discouraged from diving into the cold ocean, while Sao Paulo authorities had to open up subway stations to accommodate homeless people as Brazil’s south experienced unusually low temperatures on Friday.

Temperatures on Friday morning dropped below 23 Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius) in Santa Catarina state, covering several municipalities with a thin layer of snow. Earlier this week a fierce hailstorm scared residents of Rio’s west zone. For many Brazilians, accustomed to more clement weather in the tropical South American country, such events are considered extreme.

Earlier this week, authorities in Rio Grande do Sul, canceled soccer matches, closed public buildings early and suspended classes in schools and universities due to fears of major disruptions. There, nearly 182,000 homes were left without electricity on Tuesday.

Temperature began to drop earlier this week as tropical Cyclone Yakecan approached, before being downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday.

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Weather forecasters said the cold wave is trapped by a storm in the country’s South and will extend into next Tuesday, while the Navy expects that 4-meter (13 foot)-tall waves could continue to hit Rio’s shores until Friday night.

Since the cold wave hit Brazil, at least one man has died of hypothermia in Sao Paulo. Some subway stations remained opened on Friday to protect homeless people and charity groups were out delivering soup and blankets to those in need.

Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology predicted strong winds all Friday between the cities of Rio and Curitiba, 510 miles (820 kilometers) to the south.