It snowed in the lowlands of Morocco for the first time in 50 years. Record-keeping is tricky in North Africa simply because of the sparse population, but the Morocco meteorology agency appears to have confirmed that, yes, this is a very weird thing.
The agency told news outlet Le 360 that the snow, which fell near Zagora, Morocco, was being caused by a massive cold air outbreak — something that has happened a few times this winter.
Earlier this month, a freak snow coated the giant sandy dunes of the Sahara. Ain Sefra, Algeria, hadn’t seen snow in nearly 40 years until it happened for the first time this century in 2017. Now it’s snowed there two years in a row.
This region — the lowlands of Morroco where it meets Algeria to the east — has an average high temperature of around 90 degrees in the summer. But like many deserts, it gets chilly at night, especially in the winter months. The average low temperature in January is 34 degrees.
The two to three inches of snow reportedly brought things to a standstill in Zagora (so it’s like Washington D.C., except with palm trees). Temperatures were hovering around the freezing mark, but people seemed generally pleased at the sight.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the record-keeping is hard in North Africa because of the small population, which is not entirely true. The writer meant “sparse” population, meaning — while the population of Morocco and Algeria is around 80 million, combined — there are vast areas that are unpopulated.