By Stacey Leasca
January 09, 2018

It appears the United States isn’t alone in experiencing record-setting cold this January.

While it may be chilly along the Eastern Seaboard, the snow and ice there have nothing on the small town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, which experienced just its second snowfall in nearly 40 years.

To make that weather event even more spectacular, the blanket of snow covered parts of the Sahara Desert on Sunday, making for quite the picture-perfect winter scene.

“We were really surprised when we woke up to see snow again. It stayed all day on Sunday and began melting at around 5 p.m.,” photographer Karim Bouchetata told the Express.

However even in its deepest parts, the less than one inch of snow quickly dissipated. Rising temperatures melted much of it by 5 p.m. local time Sunday.

Prior to this snowfall, the region actually experienced a light dusting in December 2016. Before that, the last snow was recorded in Ain Sefra on Feb. 18, 1979. And even then, the flakes fell for a mere 30 minutes.

"With the setup over Europe at the moment, which has given us cold weather over the weekend, a push southwards of cold air into that region and some sort of moisture would bring that snow,” a spokesperson for The Met told the Independent. "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."

While this year’s snow in North Africa may feel unique, it’s actually part of a larger weather pattern shift for the region. As the Express explained, the desert has been experiencing a temperature and moisture shift over the past few hundred thousand years, and may become green again in about 15,000 years. Though, with that kind of lead time, we’ll all just have to imagine it.

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