Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, snow
The desert in Tabuk in Saudi Arabia receives snow annually REUTERS/Mohamed Alhwaity

Think Saudi Arabia and the image that comes to mind is one of palm trees, deserts and camels. However, one region of the Middle Eastern country witnessed a temporary change of scenery following a snow storm.

The mountainous region of Tabuk in northwestern Saudi experienced snow fall on 26 January and families from the nearby city and towns drove out to enjoy the rare treat. The peak of the Al-Lawz Mountain was dusted in white and many took the opportunity to go sledding and organise bonfire picnics.

This region receives light snowfall annually but it tends to melt within a few hours, causing sludge to form on the roads. Arab News reported that the Red Crescent, Civil Defense and the Border Guards along with local traffic and security agencies were monitoring the area to manage crowds and respond to emergencies.

Hussein Al-Qahtani, spokesman for the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection, told the Saudi Press Agency that the cold front would continue into next week with temperatures expected to drop to -2°C.

According to The National, regions of Lebanon also experienced similar storms, with Dahr al-Baidar, east of Beirut being coated in snow.

Earlier this month, parts of the Sahara Desert had also experienced snow for the third time in 40 years. According to Forbes, the rare phenomenon was triggered by high pressures over Europe, which caused cold air to be pulled down into northern Africa.