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Snow in the Sahara could be one of those phrases like ‘once in a blue moon’ and ‘in a month of Sundays’ that are predominantly used because they never – or very rarely – happen.
Well, today is the day, as winter arrived in the Saharan town of Ain Sefra, Algeria.
It’s only the fifth time in the past 42 years that snow has fallen on the town, and it left local residents freezing as the mercury dipped down to -2C overnight.
In the past, the town has reached high temperatures of 58C, so extremes are possible at both ends.
Anyway, the stunning photos that accompany this article were taken by Karim Bouchetata who travelled to the North African town – known as the Gateway to the Sahara – specifically to see the snow.
Even if it is unusual, it looks pretty beautiful, doesn’t it?
The town sits within the Atlas Mountains and is around 3,000 feet above sea level.
Deserts, by their very nature, are remarkably dry, which is why they are so called, but they’re not always super-hot.
However, the Sahara is one of the world’s deserts that is best known for the extreme heat.
Covering much of North Africa, the desert is actually expected to become green once again, but not for a while.
Let me explain – deserts got through changes in temperature and moisture just like everywhere else on the planet, meaning that where there was once little flora or fauna, there may one day be greenery and an abundance of animals and insects.
Don’t expect it to happen overnight, though.
It could be at least 15,000 years before we see the Sahara yield that level of life once again.
Whilst snow is hardly common in the desert, the people of Saudi Arabia managed to get a glimpse of the white stuff last year, too.
The Asir region saw the first snowfall in half a century at around this time last year.
The mountainous region of the Kingdom also experiences temperatures below freezing, which is also very unusual.
People living in the area flocked along to see the novelty, many had never seen snow before and certainly hadn’t seen it on Saudi Arabia soil.
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