While it isn't a week-to-week winter norm, it isn't all that too unusual from a long term perspective. There are snows and frosts every year across the region, with heavy low altitude snows every few years. The area is fairly dry, and low dew points make it pretty easy to keep the place cool and the regions covered in snow are the same latitude as northern Texas and even higher in elevation.
"15 inches" - none of the photos I've seen show more than 15 mm.
Apparently it happens quite often, and record low is -10 degrees Celsius
The Snopes take on it is worthwhile and adds more context about previous snowfalls:
On 21 January 2017, flurries from dawn until late afternoon left most of the area blanketed in snow...A month before that, there was a brief flurry of snow lasting only a couple of hours...
snow was documented over the desert in the Bechar region near Aïn Séfra in January 2012...
Before 2012, the most recent significant Saharan [sic] in this region appears to have occurred in February 1979, though it bears mentioning that a lack of social media and widespread digital cameras during these years would have made a light dusting far less global a news story.
I can't be the only one who noticed the similarity to the planet in The Last Jedi.
Does anyone have more pretty pictures of this event? It looks gorgeous!
I live in Algeria. There's yearly snow in a lot of places in the north (mountain chains, http://bit.ly/2ErueEU) and we hear about snow in the desert.. It's when it snows in Algiers that everyone goes nuts, especially when there's snow on the beach.
To give an idea why: it's winter here at 17°C/62°F and everybody complains all the time about how cold it is, including my sister as I am typing this.
I lived in Mauritania for five and half years and on two occasions a friend saw snow flurries in northern areas of the country. It's probably more common than we know.
It reminds me of a nice song with a similar title : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpj3ra3AeJk
So global climate change is going to further dry out the southwest US and make the Sahara more wet?
It reminds me of the salt planet in the new Star Wars movie.
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