So, the freak weather season has gotten even freakier, folks. On Sunday morning, residents in the sleepy desert town of Ain Sefra in Algeria received a cool surprise. The place which is known as the ‘Gateway to the Sahara’ played host to a weather phenomenon which has happened only twice before in the last 37 years – a snowfall in one of the hottest places on earth.
The typically red sand dunes of Ain Sefra were a vision in white earlier this week, with some areas receiving nearly 15 inches of snow.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 9, 2018
The breathtaking views were captured by both local photographers on ground and earth observation satellites. Above, you have a video released by Reuters, and below, you can see a natural-color image captured by NASA’s Landsat 8 in nadir (straight-down) close-up of the region.
Now, it’s not really uncommon for temperatures in deserts to dip during nighttime, but a snowstorm in the Sahara is a rarity. Turns out, there is a high-pressure system moving through Europe which basically led to cold air being pulled down in North Africa, ultimately leading to an unusual cold snap in the Sahara desert.
Typically, the Sahara would have been too dry for this kind of snow. But on Sunday, the air had just the right amount of moisture for the snow to stick around. The snow, which fell early in the morning, didn’t even start melting until 5 in the evening! Check out the incredible images below:
It snowed for the first time in 40 years in the Sahara. So beautiful, snow and sand. pic.twitter.com/2t3Ja3b3qI
— michael zylstra (@Zeddie101) January 9, 2018
Algerian Sahara under snow this morning ♥ Breathtaking views pic.twitter.com/3PI6IUraI6
— Fella 🌺 فلّة (@Fella_Bentoumi) January 7, 2018
Extremely rare snow in the Sahara Desert pic.twitter.com/ZmYIK1rAUw
— Earth Daily (@EarthPixDaiIy) January 10, 2018