​ Baghdad experiences rare snowfall, the second in a century - GulfToday

​ Baghdad experiences rare snowfall, the second in a century


Iraqi boys shake snow off a tree at a park in Karbala.

The excited residents of Baghdad, especially children play around in the snow, as the Iraqi capital experiences a rare snowfall.


What seems to be the second proper snowfall in over a century has carpeted the whole place and made everything around white and icy.


An Iraqi boy poses with his snow covered hat in Karbala.


The last recorded snowfall in the city was in 2008, but it was a quick and mostly slushy affair -- and prior to that, it had been a century since Baghdad saw any flakes.


Iraqis young and old said it was the first time they had ever seen snow falling in Baghdad.


The city's iconic palm trees were daintily outlined in white, and the tarpaulins of the long-running anti-government protest camp in Tahrir Square in the city centre were sprinkled with snow.


Seagulls fly past people over the Tigris river as its banks are covered with snow.


People on their way to work stopped their cars to snap pictures or break out into impromptu snowball fights.


"Snowfall may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather," said Amer al-Jaberi, media head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre.


"This cold wave came from Europe," he told AFP.


An Iraqi girl plays with her mother in the snow.


The people of Baghdad are more used to heat than cold.


The highest temperature recorded in the capital was a searing 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit), a record it has neared several times in recent years.


South of the capital, snow also carpeted the city of Karbala, which draws pilgrims from round the world to its famed shrines, the golden-domed mausoleums of Abbas and Imam Hussein.


Snowfall is more common in northern Iraq, where snow covered the war-battered city of Mosul, but in the centre and south there is rarely enough precipitation.


Iraq has been hit by a succession of extreme weather events in recent years.


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