Apart from the sprinkling before Christmas, snow was last seen in Ain Sefra on February 18, 1979, when the snow storm lasted just half an hour.
The area, known as ‘The Gateway to the Desert’ is around 1000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
The Sahara: An unforgiving land
The Sahara (its name is the Arabic word for ‘desert’) has a mean temperature of 30c (86f), with average summer highs staying above 40c (104f) for months at a time. Highs have reached 47c (117c).
The immense desert covers 3.5 million square miles – more than 16 times the size of France.
The desert extends over Mauritania, western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Niger, and parts of Tunisia, Mali, Chad and Sudan.
The Sahara is not only the red-hued sand fields familiar in imagery. They are mainly found in Algeria and Libya and make up 15% of the Sahara landscape. The rest is made up of rocky or gravel plains, arid mountains and shallow basins.
The Sahara has two main rivers running through it – the Nile and the Niger.
It has around 20 lakes, including Lake Chad, which is the only one that contains potable water.
Rain is scarce – several years can pass by with none. Annually, no more than a few inches will fall in total.