This coincides with just as extreme weather in other parts of the world.
The east coast of the United States continues to face the brutally cold winter storm Grayson and Sydney, Australia swelters in the hottest temperatures seen in nearly 80 years at 116.6 degrees Farenheight.
High pressures over Europe caused cold air to be pulled down into northern Africa and into the Sahara Desert. This mass of cold air rose 3,280 feet to the elevation of Ain Sefra, a town surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, and began to snow early Sunday morning.
Ain Sefra, known as "the gateway to the desert" has an average high of 99.7°F during the month of July, making locals much more accustomed to managing extreme heat rather than snow. Unequipped to manage snow on roads, cars and buses were stranded on roads as they became icy.
The snow didn't last long as temperatures rose to 42°F by the late afternoon. This was enough time for children to make snowmen and sled on the sand dunes, creating memories that may not be reenacted for many years to come.
The Sahara Desert town of Ain Sefra has experienced just three snow events in the past 37 years with the last two years having snow (1979, 2016, and 2017).
In the coming decades and centuries, we may find the Sahara Desert becoming the fertile grassland it once was. Research shows that northern Africa where the Sahara currently is was once dotted with large lakes, vegetation, animals, and human settlements. This period, known as the African Humid Period was far from northern Africa we know today.
It appears that approximately 5,500 years ago, however, northern Africa moisture was suddenly cut off, ending the humid period. Research is ongoing as to why and how fertile northern Africa suddenly became the Sahara Desert. One thing is clear though, the switch between humid and arid can be abrupt. Are we on the verge of another African humid period? No one knows for sure, but it will likely be the focus of continued research studies and the hopes for many northern Africa countries.