Chilean capital of Santiago hit by rare snowfall, leaving 337,000 without power

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The Chilean capital of Santiago has been hit by the worst snowfall in 10 years, leaving more than a quarter of a million people without power, local officials say. At least one person has died and several others have been injured.

Residents in the Santiago Metropolitan Region woke up to about 3 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 inches) of snow on Saturday, which caused trees to fall onto power lines. A number of other incidents were also reported.

A security guard at a medical facility in Santiago was found dead of an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow, and two other people – a 15-year-old girl and her grandmother – were injured when they received an electric shock from a damaged cable.

Chile’s National Office of Emergencies (ONEMI) said on early Saturday morning that about 337,000 customers were without power. Crews worked throughout the day to restore power, but nearly 184,000 customers remained without electricity as of 7 p.m.

The capital hadn’t seen serious snowfall in 6 years and Saturday’s snow was the worst since 2007. Meteorologists expect temperatures in some areas to drop as low as minus 6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday night, approaching record lows.

The cold front is expected to pass on Sunday and the weather should then rapidly improve, with temperatures returning to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) later next week.

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