While it is not a common event, having a snowfall in Brazil can happen. Countrywide snowfall events are very rare. In fact, the last large snowfall event that affected most of the country occurred in 1957. There are regions where annual snowfalls occur during some months of the year.
Snow is not a rare occurrence in some regions of Brazil. The southern regions of Brazil typically get snow during the winter months of June, July, and August. The high altitude and the high latitude of this region often combine with Antarctic weather patterns to bring snow to the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais.
For the rest of Brazil, snow is a rare occurrence that occurs so infrequently that many people in these areas have never seen or experienced a snow event. Of the 26 states in Brazil, historical records show snow falling in only seven. If you want to experience snow in Brazil, you must time your visit carefully and choose your location from a small selection.
Where Does it Snow in Brazil?
Typically snow events are confined to a relatively small area in the southern portion of the country. If you want to experience a southern hemisphere snowfall during June, July, or August, you must plan a trip to one of these southern Brazilian Cities.
Sao Joaquin is located in the state of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil. The latitude of Sao Joaquim and its altitude of a bit over 4000 feet make the climate a sub-tropical highland zone that is known for being rather temperate most of the year. Most of the year, you will experience cool summers and low temperatures in winter. However, freezing temperatures are rare.
The average temperature in Sao Joaquim is about 14 C (57 degrees F) to lows that occasionally reach 7 C (44.6 degrees F). A morning frost may not be uncommon, especially during the winter months but can occur even in early spring and fall. Snowfall can occur on the coldest days but usually doesn’t accumulate or last for more than a few hours.
Urubici is also located in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Like Sao Joaquim, the altitude and latitude make this region a temperate zone with a moderate climate throughout the year. During the summer months, the temperatures can range from 12 degrees C (53.6 F) to 16 degrees C (60.8 F). The winter months of June, July, and August have recorded temperatures into the minus areas of the thermometer.
One of the highest points in Urubici is Morro da Igreja which holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in Brazil. Official records indicate that a temperature of -17.8 degrees C (0 degrees F) was once reported at this site. Snowfall events are not uncommon when the temperatures fall into the freezing range.
San Jose’ dos Ausentes
San Jose’ dos Ausentes is a rather small municipality located in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul. This location is not well known and in 2020 had a population of only 3,543 people. San Jose’ dos Ausentes sits at an average altitude of 1200 meters (3,900 feet). The peak of Monte Negro, a nearby mountain, is 1403 meters above sea level (4600 feet).
Temperatures range from averages near 6.1 degrees C (43 F) to highs during the summer months of 23.8 degrees C (74.8 F). The climate of San Jose’ dos Ausentes is temperate and considered an Oceanic Climate type. According to officials, early morning frosts are common during the winter months, and snowfall is not uncommon.
When Does it Snow in Brazil?
Brazil is situated on the eastern side of South America along the southern Atlantic coast. This location is south of the equator, which makes the winter season in Brazil mainly occur during June, July, and August. Because much of Brazil lies close to the equator, these areas enjoy a tropical or subtropical climate. In these areas, snow is a rare event.
The southern parts of Brazil lie far enough south and have enough altitude to claim a temperate climate. The nearby Antarctic weather patterns can sweep into these areas bringing cold snaps that can drive temperatures low enough to turn the rain into snow. Some areas at the southern tip of Brazil are known to get snow events annually.
Does it Snow in Rio de Janeiro?
The first thing to consider is whether you mean the city of Rio de Janeiro, a popular tourist destination or the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is in the southern portion of the country. There is a great difference between the two.
The City of Rio de Janeiro is located at the northern end of the State of Rio de Janeiro and is the capital of this state. The coastline of this portion of Brazil runs almost due east and west, giving Rio a south-facing exposure to the Atlantic Ocean. The climate in Rio is considered to be subtropical, with low temperatures rarely reaching the low 50-degree F mark (10 C). There are no recorded snowfall events for the City of Rio de Janeiro.
In the southmost part of the State of Rio de Janeiro lies the Itatiaia National Park. The second highest point in Brazil lies within the park and has experienced snowfall events in the past.
Does it Snow in Sao Paolo?
Many people don’t realize that the city of Sao Paolo, Brazil is the most populous city in Brazil and the 4th largest city in the world by population. Sao Paolo has a humid subtropical climate. From January to March, the average low temperature is about 19 degrees C (66 F), and the high temperatures can average near 28 degrees C (82 F).
Because of its location and temperate climate, no snowfall event has occurred in the city of Sao Paolo. The State of Sao Paolo has seen some historical snow events. The last snowfall recorded in the state of Sao Paolo occurred in 1975 in Apiai.
How Often Does It Snow in Brazil?
Some places in the southernmost parts of Brazil will record snowfall events on an annual basis. Places like Sao Joaquim, Urubici, and a few small cities in the state of Santa Catarina and the Rio Grande do Sol record some snow every year.
However, don’t plan a trip expecting a winter wonderland or enjoy typical winter sports such as skiing or sledding. The typical snowfall, even where it is common, is only a few inches, and the duration is usually very brief. Accumulations that last more than a few hours are rare.
What is the Largest Snowfall Recorded in Brazil?
In 2021 a rare combination of weather events sent a frigid wave of air from the Antarctic sweeping north over Brazil. Many cities in Brazil recorded record low temperatures during this event, and many that had never seen snow before got to experience the white cold stuff firsthand.
Forty-three cities in Brazil reported snow accumulations and freezing temperatures. This is a record for Brazil. The last time such a weather phenomenon occurred in Brazil was in 1957, when a similar weather pattern struck, leaving accumulations of up to 4.3 feet of snow in some locations.
Many Brazilians experienced the first snow of their lives in 2021. Some weather experts predict that these types of weather patterns may be increasing in frequency and intensity leaving Brazil’s agricultural economy at risk.
Why Does Much of Brazil Not Get Snow?
Brazil owes its temperate climate to its location south of the equator. Much of Brazil’s landmass lies between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. The tropic of Capricorn is usually considered the demarcation line for tropical and sub-tropical areas. This means that most of Brazil are considered a tropical climate where temperatures rarely fall below 50 degrees (10 C) during the coldest months of the year.
The southern parts of Brazil enjoy a temperate or sub-tropical climate that only sees snow on rare occasions and only in areas where the elevation is above 3000 feet (900 meters). Brazil also lies along the coastline of the Southern Atlantic. Coastal areas tend to be a bit warmer than inland areas because the water in the ocean moderates the temperature and humidity.
How Much Snow Does Brazil Get in a Year?
How much snow Brazil gets in a year is a factor of location. In the southernmost parts of the country, where elevations can reach 4000 feet above sea level, snow accumulations can average 64.2 inches or 1630 millimeters per year. These snowfalls typically occur during the months of June, July, and August.
The northern parts of Brazil rarely, if ever, report any snowfall at all. These areas of Brazil lie in the tropical zones above the Tropic of Capricorn. This places them near enough to the equator that weather factors just don’t permit the formation of snow at any time. If you want to see snow in Brazil, you must go south, closer to the Antarctic and where elevations are higher.