While parts of the northeastern U.S. are still chilled to the bone in the wake of Winter Storm Grayson, (a.k.a. “the bomb cyclone,”) one of the least-likely places to expect snowfall was briefly turned into a winter wonderland: the Sahara Desert. This past Sunday, the Algerian town of Ain Sefra — known as “the gateway to the desert,” got a visit from Jack Frost, leaving the town in a blanket of snow.
Ain Sefra last saw weather like this in December of 2016, but prior to that, it hadn’t seen any snow at all since January of 1979. Clearly, this was nothing short of a rarity for Ain Sefra — which boasts an average temperature in the mid-50s throughout the winter.
Aside from its frequently high temperatures, the area isn’t exactly known as a precipitation magnet. For an area to be classified as a desert, it has to receive less than 10 inches of precipitation per year. Ain Sefra gets roughly six-and-a-half inches, annually.
Granted, the snow that covered the streets of Ain Sefra was slight, and it melted after about 90 minutes. Luckily, the snow that accumulated around the Atlas Mountains, the range which surrounds Ain Sefra, saw up to 15 inches. Thanks to this considerable accumulation, significantly more than the light dusting it experienced just over a year ago, the snow managed to stick around for a bit longer this time.
With the usually red-and-brown-hued dunes covered by a delicate layer of white snow, some lucky photographers were able to capture this rare occurrence. Luckily for us, they also shared what they saw on Instagram.
La nieve ha vuelto a hacer acto de presencia, por segundo año consecutivo, en algunas zonas del desierto del Sahara. Las imágenes captadas durante el pasado fin de semana cerca de la ciudad de Aïn Séfra, en la provincia de Naâma (Argelia) muestran un atractivo paisaje que mezcla colores rojizos y marrones que quedan escondidos por el blanco de la nieve. 📸WP. #LV2018 #lavanguardia #sahara #desierto #belleza #picofweek #instapic #paisaje #panorama #frio #oladefrio #nieve #snow #argelia