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Sao Paulo cityscape shows air pollution and skyline of the city during sunset in this file photo.
RIO DE JANEIRO - In the height of daytime on Monday, the sky suddenly blackened, and day became night in Sao Paulo.
Smog - Western - Hemisphere - City - Traffic
Sure, smog is bad in the Western Hemisphere's largest city, where traffic jams can stretch for dozens of miles. But not this bad. What was going on? Was the end near?
"Apocalypse!" one person cried on Twitter.
"The final judgment is coming!" another added.
"Mordor," one more person intoned.
Experts - Conclusions - Times - Mystery - National
Experts tried to puzzle it out, but their conclusions at times appeared to be conflicting, deepening the mystery. The National Institute of Meteorology said the city, which sits at an elevation of 2,500 feet, was "inside a cloud." Others explained that it was a cold front. Metsul, a Brazilian meteorology company, said the culprit was smoke that had come in from forest fires in Bolivia, Paraguay and remote parts of Brazil.
In fact, it appeared to be a combination of all three factors - clouds, smoke and a cold front - that ushered in the smoke from distance reaches, plunging the city into darkness in the middle of the day.
Smoke - Fires - State
"The smoke didn't come from fires in the state of...
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