Snow falls in Algeria’s Sahara Desert

Picture dated January 8th shows a covering of snow and ice in the Sahara Desert near Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria.

Snow has fallen in the Sahara Desert in north-western Algeria as temperatures plummeted to below freezing.

Picture dated January 6th shows a covering of snow in the Sahara Desert near Mekalis in northwestern Algeria.

For children from nearby towns such as Mekalis, it was a welcome relief from the scorching heat of the world’s largest hot desert.

Picture dated January 8th shows a covering of snow and ice in the Sahara Desert near Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria.

The ice crystals formed stunning patterns in the desert sands.

Picture dated January 8th shows a covering of snow and ice in the Sahara Desert near Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria.

Dunes – ideal for sliding – were also partially covered by the snow and ice.

Picture dated January 8th shows a covering of snow and ice in the Sahara Desert near Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria.

The snow in the town of Ain Sefra – known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert – was only a light dusting.

Picture dated January 8th shows a covering of snow and ice in the Sahara Desert near Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria.

Temperatures in the town, which is surrounded by the Atlas mountains, dropped below -2 for the last three nights but this is only a few degrees colder than average at this time of year, says BBC Weather’s Nicky Berry.

Picture dated January 6th shows a covering of snow in the Sahara Desert near Mekalis in northwestern Algeria.

The snow was not a complete surprise – there were also falls in 2021, 2018 and 2017.

Snow in the Sahara desert near the town of Ain Sefra, Algeria Snow in the Sahara Desert, Ain Sefra, Algeria - 20 Dec 2016

But the snow on the red sand dunes in December 2016 did come as a shock. Residents of Ain Sefra said that it was the first time since 1979 they had seen snow, suggesting the phenomenon is now becoming more common.

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