Freak snowstorm blankets Sahara desert in 16 inches of snow

The weather in the United States has been undeniably frightful — but we're not the only ones who have experienced the brunt of winter this week.

The Sahara desert witnessed an extremely rare snowstorm on Jan. 7 — just the third of its kind in 37 years — breaking a long snow drought in Algeria.

The last occasion the region saw snowfall was in December 2016, and the time before that was all the way back in February 1979.

Stunning footage captured by photographer Hamouda Ben Jerad shows the desert's iconic red sand dunes beautifully dusted with white powder in what almost seems like a mirage.

Naturally, photos of the baffling weather pattern quickly went viral on social media.

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Snowstorm blankets Sahara desert in 16 inches of snow
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Snowstorm blankets Sahara desert in 16 inches of snow
Encore des images spectaculaires du Sahara algérien ! 🐫🏜❄☃ #Algérie #Alger #Algeria #Algiers #Travel… https://t.co/whHvwvxrOR
Sahara Desert covered in 15 inches of SNOW - recent weather blankets sand dunes! https://t.co/B85t2EOm2v
Algerian Sahara under snow this morning ♥ Breathtaking views https://t.co/3PI6IUraI6
It snowed for the first time in 40 years in the Sahara. So beautiful, snow and sand. https://t.co/2t3Ja3b3qI
Quite amazing, Algerian town of Ain Sefra in the Sahara desert received snowfall yesterday. https://t.co/i2CFm2n54r
Stunning images of this weekend's snowfall in the Algerian Sahara. https://t.co/apfDBC56TO
Snow in our sahara 😍😍 This was yesterday https://t.co/Ny93NSV6Mk
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Apparently, the rare storm was the result of a high-pressure system over Europe which forced cold air to be pulled down into northern Africa.

The frigid air then rose up thousands of feet to the municipality of Ain Sefra, situated in the Atlas mountains, which resulted in the freak precipitation. While the small town only received about 1-2 inches of snow, sand dunes on the outskirts of the region were hammered by up to 16 inches, according to the Daily Mail

Ain Sefra, which is known as "the gateway to the desert," has an average daily temperature of about 50 F during the month of January. However, the weather gets much hotter in the summer months, where temperatures can soar to nearly 100 F.

Sadly, the snowstorm didn't last for too long — temperatures rose to 42 F by the late afternoon, melting most of the snow away.

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