RIYADH, KOMPAS.com – Saudi Arabia’s desert turns white after being covered in snow and ice following a rare ‘hail storm’.
Snow and ice cover the dunes once temperatures drop below freezing, and encourage locals to enjoy the weather and play snowball.
Also read: Lost for 4 months, this dog was found covered in snow and met its owner again
Saudis flock to Jabal al-Lawz, otherwise known as Mount Almond, in the northwestern region of Tabuk, as snow covers the area.
Every year, people go to the 8464 feet (2580 meters) high mountain when it snows and pitch tents and picnics to enjoy the cold weather.
Recent snowfalls and hailstorms in the region have left the normally golden dunes covered in white snow.
Saudis gathered at Jabal al-Lawz on Monday (17/1/2022), with some enjoying the melting snow and making coffee during a picnic. While others fight with snowballs.
Earlier this month, Saudi photographer Osama Al-Habri captured aerial footage of people gathering in Badr Province, southwest of the city of Medina on January 11, to capture the unusual sight.
Cars were seen queuing along the road, as hundreds of people gathered in the area.
Read also: Dozens of people died after 125,000 cars were stuck in traffic jams in a snowstorm
Al-Harbi said to CNN that a “historic hailstorm” has pushed the desert into a blanket of thick snow and ice.
The photographer told news outlets that the area was teeming with visitors who had traveled miles to see the icy landscape.
Last year in January, locals and foreigners alike flocked to the desert in the Aseer region of Saudi Arabia to enjoy the snowfall.
Watch: A rare hail storm leaves sand dunes covered in snow outside Badr city in Saudi Arabia’s Medina province. https://t.co/D1Cfep3cSt pic.twitter.com/l0dHO25vvM
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 12, 2022
Although snowfall in the desert is rare, it is not impossible. The high pressure system of cold air can move over land into the desert, causing lower temperatures.
Such an anticyclone can reach Saudi Arabia by moving clockwise out of Central Asia, picking up moisture on its way which cools to form snow.
Snow settles on the sands of the Sahara Desert after temperatures drop below freezing.
Ice blankets the dunes in a rare phenomenon in the world’s largest desert, where temperatures have recorded an average of 58 degrees Celsius.
Also read: Mountain View in Saudi Arabia which has been covered with snow since the New Year
Photographer Karim Bouchetata captured this stunning image of snow and ice in the town of Ain Sefra in northwestern Algeria yesterday.
Overnight, the temperature in the Algerian city plunged to minus 2 degrees Celsius.
The ice created a stunning pattern in the sand after the area saw snowfall unexpectedly.
This “dust snow” is the fifth time in 42 years the city has seen snow. Previous events occurred in 1979, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Ain Sefra – known as The Gateway to the Desert – sits about 3,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
The Sahara Desert covers most of North Africa and has experienced changes in temperature and humidity over the last several hundred thousand years.
Also read: Viral: Because of refusing to clean the snow, this man leaves his wife
Although the Sahara is very dry at this time, the region is expected to return to its greenery in about 15,000 years.
Last year, camels were seen surrounded by snow as North Africa was gripped by extreme temperatures in summer and winter.
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