It snowed 16 inches in the Sahara Desert near the town Ain Sefra in Algeria after a storm hit on Sunday. This is the third time in 40 years that snow has fallen on the city.
Residents also awoke to snow in 2016 and 2017. But this time, they got about 16 inches of the white stuff. While the actual town of Ain Sefra only saw a few inches of snow, the sand dunes in the desert, which is on the outskirts of the town, were covered.
“We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again. It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5 pm,” said Photographer Karim Bouchetata. When Bouchetata says “again”, the photographer is referring to another snowstorm not long ago. In 2016, the town known as “The Gateway to the Desert” saw deep snow shortly after Christmas and it caused chaos, with passengers stranded on buses after the roads became slippery and icy.
But children made the most of it, sledding down the desert sand dunes and building snowmen.
The cold snap comes as Europe and the United States froze in bitter temperatures. Winter Storm Grayson, battering the US east coast, has seen the sea freeze in Cape Cod, along with the Niagra Falls in stunning scenes.
“Cold air was pulled down south into North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe,” said a spokesman for the Met Office earlier. “The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal.” Ain Sefra is about 3,281 feet above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
The Sahara Desert covers most of Northern Africa and it has gone through shifts in temperature and moisture over the past few hundred thousand years. Although the Sahara is very dry today, it is expected to become green again in about 15,000 years and was green in the past. This change was blamed on “global warming” or “climate change.”