On 19 December 2016 an amateur photographer snapped pictures of snow on the ground of the Algerian city of Ain Sefra, which borders the Sahara desert.
On 19 December 2016, amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata posted an album to Facebook of images capturing snow in the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, located in the hills just bordering the Sahara desert, and several online news outlets published the stunning photographs.
According to Gizmodo, the last significant snowfall occurred in that area in February 1979:
The last major snowfall — if it can be called that — to hit Ain Sefra was in February 1979 when it snowed for a whopping 30 minutes. Subsequent dustings of snow also appeared in 2005 and 2012.
Some viewers expressed skepticism about the authenticity of the photographs or the likelihood that a town located just next to the Sahara flatlands would see any snow in the first place. The fact that it snowed in Ain Sefra on December 19th can be confirmed, however, via NASA satellite data that shows pockets of snow in the region:
While snowfall is indeed a rare occurrence in Ain Sefra, the temperatures that led to air cool enough to produce snow are not all that rare. Historical data from the region show that December and January temperatures often dip into the 30s.
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.