Rare weather occurrence blankets portions of Sahara Desert with snow

Snow covers portions of the Sahara Desert in rare weather occurrence. (NASA)

In an unusual weather occurrence, the Sahara Desert, a region known as one of the hottest parts of the globe experienced a rare sprinkling of snow over the weekend.

Portions of the Sahara desert near the town of Ain Sefra in Algeria were covered with up to 15 inches of snow as local residents found themselves in surrounded by a rare combination of the Sahara’s red sand dunes and white snow.

The freak weather occurrence was associated with the atmospheric pattern that brought a terrible winter storm across the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Since winds travel from west to east, the chilly air over the U.S. eventually wind up in North Africa.

This is the second year in a row that snow fell on the sands of the Sahara desert. Last year, the town of Ain Sefra also experienced the same phenomenon. However, the occurrence is still very rare. Before 2017, the last time snow fell on the desert was nearly 40 years ago in 1979, when a snow storm occurred in the area for 30 minutes.

The town, which is surrounded by hot desert and not used to managing snow, experienced some difficulties with icy roads. Cars and buses became stranded on the roads, which became covered with snow instead of the usual dust.

Children from Ain Sefra enjoyed the winter wonderland in which they found themselves, building snowmen and sliding down the ice-covered dunes in sleds. Unfortunately, the snow did not last long, as the temperatures started rising by late afternoon.

The snowfall in the Sahara is only one of the various extreme weather occurrences that are happening around the globe. While many U.S. states record their coldest temperatures ever in the bitter winter chill that grips the eastern United States, Australia, on the other hand is experiencing its hottest temperatures in nearly 80 years at 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit.