In the early hours of Sunday morning (8 January 2018), snow started falling in the Algerian town of Ain Sefra for the third time in 37 years.
Ain Sefra is a small town in northwest Algeria which is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains and known as “The Gateway to the Desert”.
In 1979, the town experienced a snowstorm that lasted half an hour; two years ago snow settled for around a day; and last year it snowed again in the town.
High pressures over Europe caused cold air to be pulled down into northern Africa and into the Sahara Desert. This mass of cold air rose 3,280 feet to the elevation of Ain Sefra.
With temperatures rising later in the day, the more than 40cm-deep snow began to melt.
Extreme weather in other parts of the world
But, as Forbes notes, the unlikely weather conditions this past week were not limited to northern Africa.
“The east coast of the United States continues to face the brutally cold winter storm Grayson and Sydney, Australia swelters in the hottest temperatures seen in nearly 80 years at 116.6 degrees Farenheight.”
And in South Africa, over the same period, temperatures hovered in the high-30s even reaching levels higher than 40°C in some areas.