A cold snap sent thermometers plunging in South America in recent days, killing three people in Chile and Argentina while Buenos Aires saw snow on Monday for the first time in 89 years.

The temperature dropped to minus 22 degrees Celsius (7.5 Farenheit) in Bariloche, in Argentina's southern Andes mountains, while snow flakes fell for the first time in Buenos Aires since 1918.

A man was found dead from the cold on a doorstep in Rosario, 300 (186 miles) north of here. The body of a homeless man was found Monday under cardboard on a street in Buenos Aires, where the temperature fell to 3 degrees C (37 F).

A blizzard hit Mendoza, on the foothills of the Andes 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) northwest of here, and the Andean provinces of Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza and Neuquen have been placed under a storm alert, the national weather service said.

A blizzard with winds of up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour shut down the Cristo Redentor tunnel between Chile and Argentina, stranding some 3,000 trucks.

In Chile's southern region of Araucania, where the thermometer dropped to minus 18 C (minus 4 F), another man was found dead from exposure.

In Bolivia, heavy snowfall blocked the country's main highway and shut down its biggest airports, the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service said.

Even in Peru, where warm climate prevails, the cold snap forced authorities to place half of the country's 24 departments under a state of emergency.

Weather forecasters expect this third cold snap in the southern hemisphere's winter season to last until Wednesday.