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A Rare Snowstorm Just Blanketed the Sahara Desert & It Looked Like Another Planet

We're not even a month into the new year, yet 2018 has already ushered in a whole bunch of rare and extreme weather. First, it started snowing in Florida, then a Bomb Cyclone pummeled the East Coast, and now, a cold snap in the Sahara desert allowed for a whole bunch of snow to fall there for only the third time in 40 years. 

For a few hours early Sunday, residents of northwest Algeria were treated to quite the sight: a blanket of snow -- up to 16 inches deep in some areas -- brought on by a high pressure system in Europe that pulled cold air down onto the continent. For some residents of the town Aïn Séfra, often dubbed "The Gateway to the Desert," the white stuff even stuck around long enough to build a couple snowmen and go sledding.

Though the thought of a snowstorm in the Sahara may seem shocking, it's not unheard of. In fact, snowfall has been reported in the same area at least twice in the last 40 years -- once in 1979, and again just two years ago. However, that doesn't change the fact that the resulting photos of the snow-capped red and orange sand dunes are downright stunning. If you didn't know better, you might even think you were looking at another planet's landscape. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.