- 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 for only the second time in the Iraqi capital in the past century.
Though 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, but that was a quick, slushy snow. Tuesday’s snow was the first that stuck since 1914.
City dwellers took selfies, and children played in parks, lobbing snowballs before the fluffy flakes disappeared and the white cover dissolved into gray 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, and the average low is 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 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 the event was a relief from the national unrest of the past few months, according to Xinhua News.
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 was “just like the movies,” Ghaith Ali, 24, 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 warmed to the low-40s by the afternoon, melting most of the snow, the Weather Underground said.
More snow was possible, forecasters said, as the cold wave was not quite over.
“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