Abnormally Cold Weather in Saudi Arabia Results in Snowfall Turning Desert Sands Powdery White (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
It’s not every day that powdery snow covers the desert sand in Saudi Arabia – but that’s exactly what happened to parts of the country when temperatures dropped below freezing. Saudis are reacting with a healthy dose of humor, and even a few snowmen.
The frigid temperatures and blanket of snow is an unexpected treat for Saudi Arabia’s central and northwest regions, which tend to see daily high temperatures of around 20° C (68° F), even in the November “cold season.”
— رسيس عبدالرحمن الفهد (@Rasees) November 23, 2016
Some Saudis have taken to social media to express their thoughts on the winter surprise, with one man “skiing” on an icy road.
— ماجد فتيني (@majed_waheep) November 23, 2016
Another noted that the weather was “so European,” joking that he was asked if he was a scholarship student – a conversation typically had by Saudi students in their (much colder) host countries.
الجو أوروبي اليوم لدرجة أن واحد قبل شوي عند الإشارة يسألني:
قلت له لا زائر
جلسنا نضحك ونتكلم عن السعودية وعن موعد نزول الثلج????
— 00:00:01 (@sunset01234) November 28, 2016
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Saudi drivers didn’t seem too confident on the slick streets, with one image showing a pile of cars pulled over on the side of the road.
Snow falls in Northern Saudi Arabia: pic.twitter.com/PkAvPVWVJA
— Arabian Veritas (@ArabianVeritas) November 24, 2016
Others opted to play in the snow rather than drive, building snowmen which represented their favorite football clubs.
— المملكة اليوم (@KSATODAY1) November 26, 2016
But while the building of snowmen may seem innocent enough, Saudis who took part in the activity during a freak snowfall in January 2015 were condemned by a cleric who called it sinful and “anti-Islamic.” He issued a fatwa (religious ruling) forbidding the activity – though clearly his opinion is not shared by everyone in the country.
The snowfall came as temperatures reached -3 ° C (26.6 ° F) in the Al-Jawf region and -1 ° C (30.2 ° F) in the northern province of Al-Quryat, the Saudi Gazette reported. *(so compare that vs normal daily high temperatures of around 20° C (68° F), even in the November “cold season.”)