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It may sound more like fiction than fact, but media are reporting snow in the Sahara Desert.
In what will probably be the nearest thing to a white Christmas residents of the small Algerian town of Ain Sefra will ever see, the snowfall took place on Monday, dusting red sand dunes powdery white.
The Daily Mail reported that the snow stayed for a day in the town, which is around 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
Ain Sefra’s average temperature last year was 20 Celsius.
The unusual festive scene was captured on camera by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata, who said that everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert.
“It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos,” he said.
The last time snow fell in the world’s largest desert was almost four decades ago, when a flurry struck Ain Sefra, known as “The Gateway to the Desert,” on February 18, 1979.
The Sahara Desert covers most of Northern Africa and it has gone through shifts in temperature and moisture over the past few hundred thousand years.
According to a report in The Sun, this isn’t the first time that snow has put in an unexpected appearance in 2016.
Earlier this year, residents of sun-baked Saudi Arabia also woke up to an unforeseen blanket of the white stuff.
Plunging temperatures saw the arid desert landscape turned into a bizarre one-day winter wonderland, as freezing conditions took hold.
In just four hours of snow, “a significant layer of snow settled on the golden sands as cold weather moved across the desert nation,” the report said.