Snowstorm blankets Sahara desert in white

The temperature in the world’s largest hot desert plummeted this week as a freak snowstorm hit the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, blanketing the sand dunes in white.

With temperatures touching 1 degree Celsius, residents in Ain Sefra enjoyed sliding down small sections of dunes before 40cm of snowfall melted away by the afternoon.

Local resident Karim Bouchetata said they were surprised when they awoke to the unusual scene.

“People were very happy, children played in the snow and everyone was taking photos,” he told the ABC.

Grabbing his camera, Mr Bouchetata photographed his town and the surrounding mountains.

“This is the only place in Algeria that gathers four contrasting paintings,” he said.

“The city is topped by dunes, followed by the forest and then the mountains.”

Mr Bouchetata said the town itself, known as the gateway to the Sahara, was coated in a few inches of snow, while the surrounding sand dunes and the Atlas mountains beyond were blanketed in white.

It is only the third time in almost 40 years the Sahara desert has seen snow.

Locals posted photos on Facebook and Twitter of the orange sand poking through under a blanket of white.

In December 2016, about a metre of snow fell.

Prior to that, snow fell for just 30 minutes in 1979.

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