Snow falls in Sahara Desert for first time in 37 years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

AIN SEFRA, Algeria — The Algerian town of Ain Sefra, deep in the dry, hot Sahara desert, was hit by a freak snowfall on December 19. It’s the first time snow has fallen in the region in 37 years.

These incredible pictures by amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata show the town’s red dunes dramatically capped with white snow.

The last time flakes are reported to have fallen in the northwest African country was when a brief blizzard hit town in February 1979.

One of several towns to claim the moniker “Gateway to the Desert,” Ain Sefra is 1,078 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.

The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert and its more than 9 million square kilometers cover most of North Africa.

As well as being one of the driest places in the planet, it’s one of the hottest — temperatures here can reach more than 50 C (122 F).