Jim Andrews

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Record Heat, Other Weather Extremes

December 22, 2011; 1:35 PM

While Yuletide is known for its cold and snow in the world's northern reaches, it often comes with heat "down under." Witness this week's fiery heat in western Australia and the near south of South America. In both areas, record highs were set.

South America:

The northern half of Argentina was at the heart of blistering heat on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The hot spot was apparently La Rioja, which registered 46.0 C (that's 115 F). Also in the like-named province, Chamical hit 44.6 C. Argentina's SMN website shows that these fell a bit short of the respective all-time summer highs.

Meanwhile, in the province of Cordoba, the namesake city reached 42.4 C, or 108 F, which was possibly an all-time high. Marcos Juarez, which top out at 42.0 C Wednesday, apparently tied the highest historical reading.

Thursday, a cold front has shoved the cover of the heat northward leaving much of northern Argentina and Paraguay "on the fire."

Australia:

The Australian BoM said that Roebourne, Western Australia, reached 49.4 degrees C (121 F) Wednesday. This was the state's hottest December day on record (was 48.8 at Mardie in 1986). It was also 0.1 degree C shy of Australia's hottest December day on record (that was 49.5 C at Birdsville, Queensland, on Christmas Eve 1972.)

Elsewhere:

The problem at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was rain -- way too much of it. Within about 60 hours, rainfall was 26.7 cm (10.5 inches), more than the normal winter (December-February) rainfall.

Snow has been thumping down along the Alps, which is surely helping to break an early-season snow drought. At this writing, snow depth atop Germany's Zugspitze has risen by about 95 cm (37 inches) within four days. Actual snowfall should have been a good deal more than this.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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