Sahara desert once again was covered with about 16 inches of snow. This is the third time it was blanketed with snow in 37 years.
The snow has fallen on the red sand dunes making it white nearby the town of Ain Sefra in Algeria, which is also called “The Gateway to the Desert,” on Sunday. It was caused by a winter storm, which occurred when the cold air was pulled down south in North Africa in the weekend because of high pressure in Europe. A spokesman for the Met Office stated that the high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal, as noted by the New York Post.
The town is in the Sahara Desert and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains that is located about 3,280 feet above sea level. It had experienced three snow events in 1979, 2016, and 2017. In 2016, heavy snow hit the town causing passengers stranded on buses. Meanwhile, the children made snowmen and sled on the sand dunes.
It was a breathtaking sight as the desert turned white. However, the snow did not last long. Karim Bouchetata, a photographer, said that they were really surprised when they woke up to see snow again. He further said that it stayed throughout Sunday and began melting at around 5 p.m.
According to Forbes, northern Africa, in which Sahara desert is located, was once surrounded by vegetation, animals, large lakes, and human settlements during the African Humid Period. However, when the humid period ended approximately 15,000 to 5,000 years ago, fertile northern Africa became the Sahara Desert. Meanwhile, researchers are continually examining the desert and hoping that it could give signs of becoming fertile again.
The Sahara Desert is considered the world’s largest hot desert. It is also the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic, which are cold deserts. It comprises of about 9,200,000 square kilometers that include most of North Africa. It envelops larger areas of Algeria, Egypt, Chad, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Sudan, Niger, and Morocco.
The average high temperature in Sahara during the hottest month is about 38 to 40 degrees Celsius or 100.4 to 104.0 degrees Fahrenheit. And the official highest average temperature recorded was about 47 degrees Celsius or 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit in an isolated desert town in the Algerian Desert, according to Live Science.