A Rare Winter Storm Covered the Sahara Desert in Snow

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Sixteen inches fell from the sky and turned the region's red sand dunes into an otherworldly landscape, and one rarely found in Earth's hottest desert.

This past Sunday, the Algerian town of Ain Sefra - known as "the gateway to the desert", got a visit from Jack Frost, leaving the town in a blanket of snow.

Almost 16 inches of snow fell in Ain Sefra but melted quickly, Algerian outlets reported, marking the fourth time in 37 years that snowfall has been measured in the Sahara.

The snow stuck around from morning until 5 p.m., photographer Karim Bouchetata told the newspaper. Before that, the last snow was recorded in Ain Sefra on February 18, 1979.

While snow is historically scant in the desert area, a similar snow phenomenon happened just past year. The precipitation was a result of high air pressure over Europe pulling cold air into northern Africa. "It seems like the snowy pictures were taken across the higher areas in the north of the region, towards the Atlas regions, so it's not surprising that the area would see some snow if the conditions were right". Thanks to this considerable accumulation, significantly more than the light dusting it experienced just over a year ago, the snow managed to stick around for a bit longer this time.

This isn't the first time that part of the desert has had snow.