It snowed in the Middle East on Wednesday, covering parts of Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Israel in rare white blanket. The region is known more for being dry and hot than snowstorms. But a huge dip in the jet stream similar to what’s happening in Texas allowed polar air to plunge from the Arctic into the Middle East where it interacted with a storm to create surreal scenes.
For some, this was a cause for celebration, inspiring people to don cozy hats and gloves to build snowmen. Viral videos of Saudi camels confused by the strange, cold white stuff also emerged. Really, please watch this. But across the region, the snow has also exacerbated already dire circumstances, spurring power outages, disrupting covid-19 vaccinations, and threatening to destroy refugee camps. These photos show what it’s all like.