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  • Snow covered portions of the desert for the third time in almost four decades.

    Snow covered portions of the desert for the third time in almost four decades. | Photo: Reuters Screenshot

Published 9 January 2018

Prior to the last 2016, 2017 and now, the wintery element last dusted the sands across the Algerian town of Ain Sefra early 1979.

World-renowned African hotspot, the Sahara desert, experienced up to 16 inches of snowfall during a storm early Sunday.

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“Cold air was pulled down south into North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe. The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal,” a Met Office rep explained.

Snow covered portions of the desert for the third time in almost four decades. The phenomenon has occurred for the third-consecutive year – following sightings in 2016 and 2017.

Prior to the last three instances, the wintery element dusted the sands across the Algerian town of Ain Sefra early 1979. The majority of snowfall was concentrated on dunes on the outskirts of the town. Ain Sefra, located about 1,000 meters above sea level, is usually 6 to 12 degrees Celsius at this time of year.

The Sahara's cold wave is prefaced by severe temperatures across Europe and the United States. Scientists believe the famed desert will become green again in about 15,000 years.

The Express quoted photographer Karim Bouchetata, who said he was struck by the prolonged presence of the snow cover a day after the initial fall.

“We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again. It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5:00 p.m.”

The Sahara Desert stretches across most of Northern Africa.


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