Brazilians have taken to the streets to build snowmen and launch snowballs as an unusual wintery snap rips across the country.
Video footage from the usually sun-drenched country shows well wrapped up people having a snowball fight in Bom Jesus, a city in Rio Grande do Sul state.
In Sao Joaquim in Santa Catarina state, trees were weighing heavy with frost and icicles.
More than 40 cities across Brazil saw snowfall on Wednesday as this year’s harsh winter continues to bring icy temperatures.
Snow was recorded in cities such as Pelotas, São Francisco de Paula, Gramado, Carlos Barbosa, Bagé, Herval, Piratini, Caxias do Sul, Marau and Farroupilha, it was reported.
In other parts of the country hail battered down on rooftops more used to enduring day after day of baking sunshine.
More snow is forecast for Thursday when temperatures are forecast to continue dropping.
Snowfall is very rare in Brazil, with the country’s last blizzard coming in 1957, when 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) of snow was recorded in a city in Santa Catarina state.
Typically the coldest it gets on an average July day in Bom Jesus is 18C, with highs of 33C not uncommon.
While fun, the cold snap is threatening coffee, sugarcane and orange crops.
The unusually cold weather in Brazil has already sent international prices for coffee and sugar higher and Friday was forecast to be the coldest day of the year, according to Marco Antonio dos Santos, a partner at weather consultancy firm Rural Clima.
In a report on Thursday, dos Santos said the south of Goias and the south of Mato Grosso do Sul, states where farmers grow crops like corn, would face cold temperatures on Friday as the wave of cold air marched northwards.
“With the polar air mass strengthening, it is getting even colder in most of the agricultural producing regions of center-south Brazil,” Santos said. “As such, the chances of frosts in coffee, sugarcane and orange areas increased dramatically.”
The polar air mass should move over Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, major producers of sugar, citrus and coffee, on Friday, bringing freezing temperatures.
Arabica coffee prices touched a nearly seven-year high earlier this week as the unusual cold weather affected the crop in Brazil, the world’s top producer, with companies poised to pass on higher costs to consumers.
“No one really knows the depth of damage undertaken,” said coffee exporter Comexim, which estimated a 13% loss on next year’s production at the Cerrado region in top coffee growing state Minas Gerais.