Snow Falls on 'Gateway to the Sahara'

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January 9, 2018

Snow fell in an Algerian desert town for the second year in a row. The town, Ain Sefra, is known as the "Gateway to the Sahara."

Sahara snow

Ain Sefra is in the northwest part of the country and is at the same latitude as Yuma, Ariz. Yet snow fell in Ain Sefra. City officials said that it was the third time in 40 years that they had seen snow. The official snowfall report from the city was about an inch; some news reported more. The last two snowfalls were in December 2016 and then back in February 1979.

Map of Ain Sefra, Yuma

Cold temperatures overnight are normal in desert areas. The cold, as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit, extended the snow's presence for most of a day. Residents took the opportunity on a Sunday to slide down the snowy dunes.

Ain Sefra is 3,536 feet above sea level and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. The former French garrison town routinely sees temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer but has also recorded lows of 14 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.

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