The last time it snowed in the Sahara Desert, it was 1979. The cost of gas was 86 cents per gallon, Margaret Thatcher was elected as the prime minister of a pre-Brexit UK, Michael Jackson released his breakthrough album Off the Wall, and the US and Soviet Union reached an agreement during the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks. Fast-forward 37 years and it finally happened again.
Photographer Karim Bouchetata awoke on the morning of December 20 to see his town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Ain Sefra is known as the “Gateway to the Sahara,” and has an average temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. And although winter temperatures frequently drop into the 30s, the dry, arid environment is a cold, far cry from the winter wonderland it was on December 19th and 20th.
Bouchetata was able to capture the snowfall against the red foothills of the Atlas Mountains, which hover over the border of Ain Sefra and the Sahara Desert. The winter white only lasted a day and has since melted, but these photographs from Bouchetata captured the phenomenon forever.