Some parts of Chile’s Atacama Desert have never recorded any rainfall at all, while the region’s average annual precipitation is only about 0.6 inches.
The desert is so parched because nearly all the moisture blowing in from the Atlantic and Amazon Basin is blocked by the Andes mountain range to the east.
Cold waters of the Humboldt current offshore also produce a generally arid zone in northern Chile.
But a bitterly cold Antarctic blast that chilled much of southern South America during late August also brought in enough moisture from the south to trigger the snow and brief downpours for the Atacama.
Photo: La Nación (Chile)