Cold Front and Wild Fires Cause São Paulo to Go Dark during The Day

Darkness overtook São Paulo at 3pm on Monday

São Paulo

Darkness washed over São Paulo on Monday (19), around 3 pm, surprising residents. The phenomenon can be explained by the sum of the arrival of a cold front in the east of the state, with heavy clouds, and winds that have brought particulate matter originating from fires in Paraguay and Bolivia.

Franco Nadal Villela, a meteorologist of Inmet (National Institute of Meteorology), explained what happened in São Paul on Monday.

"The darkening of the sky was quite intense. Two things working together caused it. First, the cold front from the east of São Paulo, bringing in a lot of moisture from the ocean. This cold front is bringing in cold air." said Villela, who then spoke about the effect of the fires. "There are wild fires of great magnitude happening in Paraguay, in the Pantanal region. Since the weekend, strong winds have brought (fine dust) from Mato Grosso do Sul, reaching São Paulo. The (fine dust) helps in the formation of clouds, and when they form together with it, the sky gets even darker, "he added. He said fires in the Bolivian region also contributed to the dark sky.

This year Brazil has had the highest number of forest fires since 2013. As of Sunday (18), there were already 71,497 fires burning in the country. The record was 2016, with 66,622 fires.

The month of August is also breaking records for the past seven years, with 32,932 fires, up 264% from the same period in 2018. The figure is also about 50% higher than the previous year. 

Mato Grosso is the state with the highest number of fires in 2019, with 13,641, an increase of 88% over the same period last year.

"It combined hunger and the desire to eat: the arrival of quite unstable cold air in recent days, with a very cold temperature that predicts dark sky, and (fine dust) being transported from Paraguay."

Throughout the day, social network users speculated about the causes of the blackout and linked it to fires that have occurred in Rondonia and the Amazon in recent days. However, Villela explained that the winds more likely brought fine dust from Paraguay and Bolivia fires.

São Paulo last monday at 4pm. (FOTO: Otavio Valle/Folhapress) *** - Otavio Valle/Folhapress


The Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) managed to control, on Monday (19), a fire in the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park. The fire hit the park, located in Mato Grosso, on August 9.

In 2019 alone, about 12% of the conservation area suffered from fires. 

The City of Stone, one the park's main attractions, was closed on the 12th for security reasons but reopened on Monday.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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