- Iraqis young and old said it was the first time they had ever seen snow falling in Baghdad.
- More snow was still possible, forecasters said, as the cold wave was not quite over yet.
- Tuesday’s snow was the first that stuck since 1914.
A rare winter storm coated Baghdad in snow Tuesday morning, only the second time snow fell in the Iraqi capital in the past century.
While snow is common in the mountainous northern region of Iraq, it’s very rare in Baghdad.
The last time the city saw snow was in 2008. However, the snow that fell in 2008 was a quick, slushy snow, so Tuesday’s snow was the first that stuck since 1914.
It was a rare moment of respite for citydwellers, during which residents took selfies and children played in parks, lobbing snowballs before the fluffy flakes disappeared and the white cover dissolved into grey puddles.
Cold temperatures are unusual in Baghdad, as winter is typically on the mild side. The average high temperature in the city is 66 degrees in February, with an average low of 42, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
In the summer, searing heat is what Baghdad is known for, as the city’s average daily high temperature is more than 100 degrees from June through August.
Iraqis young and old said it was the first time they had ever seen snow falling in Baghdad, according to Agence France-Presse.
“I woke up at dawn and I was surprised to see the snow covering the whole garden and my car, then I woke up my wife and two children who dashed to see the incredible view,” Rawad Hassan, 35, told the Xinhua News Agency.
Hassan said that such event gave Iraqis relief at the time when the country has been seeing unrest during the past few months, Xinhua News said.
In Tahrir Square, a stronghold for Baghdad’s demonstrators, young men and women threw snowballs and drew anti-government slogans across the ground, according to the Washington Post. It felt freezing inside the tents, but outside, it was “just like the movies,” 24-year-old Ghaith Ali told the Post.
“It felt as if something great was happening, and we stayed outside even though it was freezing,” he said. “It was worth it.”
Temperatures in Baghdad were near freezing Tuesday morning but had warmed to the low-40s by the afternoon, melting most of the snow, the Weather Underground said.
More snow was still possible, forecasters said, as the cold wave was not quite over yet.
“Snowfall may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather,” Amer al-Jaberi, media head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre, told AFP. “This cold wave came from Europe,” he explained.
Contributing: The Associated Press