The weather in North Africa is changing. So far this year snow has fallen in Algeria, Tunisia and Iraq.
Islamic Tourism was informed about snowfalls last week by one of its readers Mohamed Bokreta who also kindly send us photos of the heavy snow falls throughout the north of country and in his home town of Khemis-Miliana, 120km west of Algeris.
The heaviest snow in more than 50 years fell on Algiers in January paralyzing traffic, killing 13 people and isolating nearly a third of the northern provinces.
More than 100 roads, including several motorways, were shut. Most public administration offices and schools were closed and power and water supplies were cut off as temperatures dropped to freezing in dozens of towns.
In Bouira, some 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Algiers, 1,000 passengers were forced to spend the last two nights in schools. Public transport in large parts of northern Algeria, where the majority of the 33 million population live, was halted.
Less severe snowfall was reported in neighboring northwest Tunisia.
Snow also fell in Baghdad in January. "For the first time in my life I saw a snow-rain like this falling in Baghdad," said Mohammed Abdul-Hussein, a 63-year-old retiree from the New Baghdad area.
"When I was young, I heard from my father that such rain had fallen in the early '40s on the outskirts of northern Baghdad," Abdul-Hussein said, referring to snow as a type of rain. "But snow falling in Baghdad in such a magnificent scene was beyond my imagination."
Morning temperatures uncharacteristically hovered around freezing, and the Baghdad airport was closed because of poor visibility. Snow is common in the mountainous Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, but residents of the capital and surrounding areas could remember just hail.
"I asked my mother, who is 80, whether she'd ever seen snow in Iraq before, and her answer was no," said Fawzi Karim, a 40-year-old father of five who runs a small restaurant in Hawr Rajab, a village six miles southeast of Baghdad.
"This is so unusual, and I don't know whether or not it's a lesson from God," Karim said.
Some said they'd seen snow only in movies.
Talib Haider, a 19-year-old college student, said "a friend of mine called me at 8 a.m. to wake me up and tell me that the sky is raining snow."
"I rushed quickly to the balcony to see a very beautiful scene," he said. "I tried to film it with my cell phone camera. This scene has really brought me joy. I called my other friends and the morning turned to be a very happy one in my life."
An Iraqi who works for The Associated Press said he woke his wife and children shortly after 7 a.m. to "have a look at this strange thing." He then called his brother and sister and found them awake, also watching the "cotton-like snow drops covering the trees."
This phenomena may be related to global warming which has also brought warmer temperatures to Europe - and reports that Britain could face droughts.