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There’s Been Snow In The Sahara For The 2nd Year In A Row

Freak snow fall on the Sahara Desert for only the 4th time in 40 years.

Credit: derdour rachid/Shutterstock

Freak snowfall on the Sahara Desert for only the 4th time in 40 years.

The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert and the 3rd largest desert in the world. Its area of 3,600,000 square miles is comparable to the size of China. The average high temperatures exceed 38 to 40 °C.

So, not somewhere you’d expect to get snow flurries right? Well, that’s exactly what has happened In the Sahara for only the 4th time in 40 years and remarkably the 2nd year in a row.

The highest concentration of snow fell near the Algerian town of Aïn Sefra. The town, surrounded by the Atlas mountains and situated at around 1,000 meters above sea level last saw snow from December 2016 into January 2017. Prior to that, the town hadn’t seen any of the white stuff since February 18th 1979 when it snowed for a measly 30 minutes in the afternoon and promptly melted.

Credit: Leo Morgan/Shuttersotck

This time around the town was treated with up to 40cm of snow on the dunes on the 8th of January 2018. Local children who have been lucky enough to see snow twice in their lifetime were quick to frolic in the fresh powder.

Despite the town’s altitude it is still very rare for snow to fall in the region. A spokesman for the Met Office explained the freak weather: “Cold air was pulled down south into North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe. The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal.”

After such a freak snowfall NASA used the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 to capture images of the snow-covered desert from space.

Credit: NASA

What do you think of the winter wonderland on the sun-baked dunes of the Sahara? Leave us a comment. Why not check out the last time it snowed in the Sahara here.

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