Why Is It Snowing in the Sahara?

Apparently even the Sahara can't escape the wrath of this winter.

Sixteen inches of snow fell on the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, turning the normally red-orange sand dunes into ski slopes. According to Forbes, this desert snow was due to high pressure systems in Europe pushing cold systems further south than they typically go. The mass of cold air rose above the town, surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, and began dropping snow Jan. 7.

Vehicles became stranded thanks to the icy conditions, but children got a chance to go sledding and have snowball fights, something that may not happen again for a while. Unless trends continue, that is. This is the fourth time Ain Sefra, sometimes called "the gateway to the Sahara," has seen snow fall in 37 years. The first time in recent memory was in 1979, but the two most recent snowfalls occurred during the past two years, in 2016 and 2017.

At least the snow doesn't last long. The most recent snow was melting away by late afternoon when temperatures reached 42 degrees Fahrenheit.