Sahara Desert was Blanketed under 16 inches of Fresh Pow on Sunday

Steven Agar | | WeatherWeather
sahara, africa, desert, snow
Although no stranger to snowfall, the Sahara rarely receives this amount. Credit: Karim Bouchetata/Geoff Robinson

On Sunday, snow fell in one of the most unlikely places on Earth, the world’s hottest desert. Ain Sefra, an Algerian town in the Sahara Desert, got a couple inches of fresh pow. It stayed on the dunes for 90mins before melting.

sahara, africa, desert, snow
It wasn’t just a dusting, some dunes were under 16 inches. Credit: Karim Bouchetata/Geoff Robinson

It was the third time in the last 40 years, and the second time in less than two years, that the desert has encountered snow. While the small Algerian town of Ain Sefra received a fleeting shower in December 2016 that created chaos across the area, the snowfall this North African town received this year (on January 7) is much deeper. While the town itself saw an inch or two, the sand dunes on its outskirts were blanketed by more than 16″ (40cm) snow. Prior to that, snow had not been in this region since February 18, 1979.

sahara, africa, desert, snow
The snow lasted less than 2 hours before the area returned to its natural orange. Credit: Zineddine Hashas/Geoff Robinson

The rare snowfall reflects the trend of extreme weather events witnessed across the world in 2017. It also coincides with ‘bomb cyclone’, which has been hammering the East Coast of the US and Canada, dumping snow and ice in the least expected places such as Florida and Georgia.

16 inches! That’s almost as much as the total season accumulation of some Colorado ski resorts…

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