Snow in the Sahara Desert

"Snow fell Tuesday in the Sahara Desert in western Algeria. A 24-hour cold spell brought snow and rain to the region. Strong wind blew the snow across roads and buildings in the province of Bechar."


  1. The comments by people saying that snow and cold is good because it kills parasites on the palms makes me wonder how often it actually snows in the Sahara, at least the northern part. Sounds like it's not that uncommon.

    Weatherunderground is forcasting temps at or near the freezing point at least 3 days next week.

    There is even a ski area in Morocco, which is in the Atlas Mountains, just west of Bechar, Algeria! Who knew? Not me!

  2. Hi Anonymous, thank you for the information!

    this is from "7 rare weather events" and it supports the notion, of course, that it really does have everything to do with where the snow occurred. The only time snow ever fell in southern Algeria was in 1979, it was only half an hour and the snow was almost immediately gone. The snow that fell this week was in northern Algeria though, at Bechar. The average low temp in Jan is 38 degrees F. That is the area's lowest, other months are higher. Snow seems possible but rare

    This clip is from a weather site dedicated to Bechar Algeria, discussing averages for precip

    "Béchar Ouakda Airport (Béchar, Algeria) weather station over the course of an average January. It is based on the historical records from 2006 to 2011. Earlier records are either unavailable or unreliable."

    "Béchar has a hot desert climate. The area within 25 miles of this station is covered by lakes and rivers (64%) and built-up areas (36%).

    "The month of January is characterized by gradually rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs around 63°F throughout the month, exceeding 70°F or dropping below 56°F only one day in ten. Daily low temperatures are around 40°F, falling below 35°F or exceeding 47°F only one day in ten. Either snow is exceptionally unlikely to fall at this location in January or this station does not reliably report precipitation types."

  3. 2012's Sahara snow is not that rare.

    It snowed in 1979, 2005, 2008, and 2010...

    in 2005 was the worst for 50 years!

    For the only time in recorded weather history, snow fell in the Sahara desert in southern Algeria on February 18, 1979. The storm lasted only half an hour and the snow was gone within hours.

    Algeria snow 17 Dec 2010

    It snowed in 2008 as well
    snow (snowball fight) in algeria 2008

    Snow across Algeria and Morocco
    Winter weather descended on Northern Africa on January 26 and 27, 2005, leaving parts of Algeria and Morroco white with snow. This rare storm—the worst in over 50 years—brought chaos to the roadways of the normally arid region...

  4. So what those articles tell me, is that in the end time, the rare becomes frequent.

  5. I guess we are all standing at the edge, just waiting for someone to push us and we see who flys or falls.

  6. I agree that snow in Sahara is not that rare as believed, i think the reference that it snowed only in 1979 is wrong. I remember very well a Sahara snow reference in CNN in the 90's, but unfortunately not the date.

  7. Hi Anonymous,

    I think the 1979 date is correct. The issue is the location- there are places in the Sahara where it snows frequently, like the northern Sahara at the mountain tops of Algeria where the elevation is higher. There are other places where it has never snowed. And other places where it is extremely rare but happens occasionally. Sahara region is large- 3,600,000 sq mi covering most of Northern Africa. It is an area as large as China.

    7 months ago it snowed in the Namibian desert, the continent's southern, coastal desert. Zebras were foraging among snow. That story is here

    I think the strange weather is a sign.


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