First snow in 50 years hits southern Morocco, exceptional snowfall paralyzes the country

First snow in 50 years hits southern Morocco, exceptional snowfall paralyzes the country

Following unprecedented road conditions across Morocco on January 20, 2018, when 5 000 km (3 100 miles) of roads were closed due to what authorities described as 'exceptional' snowfall, heavy snow arrived in the country's southern regions on January 29, for the first time in 50 years.
To address the unprecedented road conditions earlier this month, the Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, and Logistics mobilized 117 snow plows, acknowledging that the blockages disproportionally affected rural areas and promising huge investment in rural roads. The minister also made a public reminder that, before getting behind the wheel, Moroccans can use the application “MaRoute” to access the most recent information about the state of the roads across the country, the Morocco World News reported.
As if that wasn't enough, an unusually heavy snowfall started affecting Morocco's southern regions on January 29, after several decades of extremely dry weather. The snowfall is currently affecting Ouarzazate (gateway to the Sahara Desert), Taroudant and even Zagora, which hasn't experienced snowfall since 1968.
Ouarzazate snow on January 29, 2018. Credit: Ouarzazate Online
First snow in Zagora since 1968 - January 29, 2018. Credit: 04 TV
Head of communications at the National Meteorological Directorate blamed the cold weather and southern snow on the influence of a very low pressure area, adding that similar weather (cold, snow and rainfall) should be expected across the country at least until Thursday, February 1.
Low pressure area over Morocco on January 29, 2018
Low pressure area over Morocco on January 29, 2018. Credit: NASA Terra/MODIS
From 06:00 local time January 28 to 06:00, January 29, Ouarzazate's city center recorded between 1 and 5 cm (0.39 - 1.96 inches) of snow, while Amzri and Imdrasse (surroundings) saw between 22 and 30 cm (8.66 - 11.8 inches) and between 10 and 20 cm (3.93 - 7.87 inches), respectively. Minimum temperatures in this region are expected between -4 and 1 °C (24.8 - 33.8 °F) and maximum between 5 and 9 °C (41 - 48.2 °F).
Weather authorities said the cold weather will particularly affect the Rif, Oriental, plateaus of phosphate and Oulmes, the Saiss and the interior plains. Meanwhile, the provinces of Boulmane, Ifrane, Khénifra, Midelt, Beni Mellal, Azilal, Errachidia, Tinghir, Ouarzazate, Al Haouz and Chichaoua will see snowfall.

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