SANTIAGO – The heaviest snowfall in a decade in central and southern Chile led to one death and left more than 300,000 capital-area households without electricity, authorities said Saturday.
An employee at Santiago’s Sotero del Rio Hospital suffered a fatal blow to the head when he lost his footing on the snow and fell, the acting governor of the Metropolitan Region, Juan Pablo Gomez, said.
Two residents of the La Florida received electric shocks from a power line that snapped due to the snow, but both are out of danger, he said.
Snow is uncommon in Santiago, a sprawling metropolis of more than 7 million residents.
Neighborhoods closest to the Andes Mountains were hardest hit.
In the upscale Las Condes district, snow toppled trees and left buses stranded.
Italian utility Enel, which provides electricity to much of the capital, said that around 180,000 of its customers had lost power.
“The company will continue working, maintaining its maximum operational capacity of engagement on the ground, and it will not suspend its contingency plan until supply is restored to all customers,” Enel executive Andreas Gebhardt said in a statement.
While the weather forecast does not call for more snow in central Chile, temperatures are expected to remain below 0 C (32 F).
Significant accumulations of snow were also reported in the cities of Valparaiso, O’Higgins and Maule.
Los Libertadores pass, the main trans-Andean road corridor between Chile and Argentina, has been closed due to the storm.