Snow falls in Sahara Desert for only second time in living memory

The last time snow fell in the Sahara was 37 years ago

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Snow falls in Sahara Desert for only second time in living memory


Most of Britain may not see a White Christmas this year - but the Sahara could after snow fell on the desert for only the second time in living memory.

Red sands turned white as icy flakes fell near the small Algerian town of Ain Sefra on Monday afternoon.

The last time snow fell on the dunes of the Sahara, the world's largest hot desert, was 37 years ago.

The amazing sight was documented in pictures by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata.

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

Snow was last seen in Ain Sefra, known as the Gateway to the Desert, on February 18, 1979.

Then, the snow storm lasted just half an hour. But this time flakes stayed for about day in the town, which is around 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

Karim said: "Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the dessert, it is such a rare occurrence. It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos.

"The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away."

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

The Sahara covers most of northern Africa and has gone through shifts in temperature and moisture over the past few hundred thousand years.

The desert is one of the hottest and driest areas of the world today, although it is expected to become green again in about 15,000 years.

Ain Sefra's average temperature last year was 20C.

UK weather: Britain set for coldest weekend of year with temperatures dropping to -5C before storms swoop in

Credits: Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson/Karim Bouchetata

Forecasters are not expecting a flurry of snow over Christmas this year.

But Storm Barbara is expected to wreak havoc with families' festive plans by pummelling parts of the country with wet and windy weather on Friday and Saturday.


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