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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 18 January, 2018
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There have been some weird weather events so far this year

We’ve had snow in the Sahara desert and a deadly “bomb cyclone” in the US in less than two weeks.

WE’RE LESS THAN two weeks into 2018, and already we’ve had more than our fair share of strange weather events.

This week, for example, we were flooded with the strange sight of snow on the red dunes of the Sahara desert. According to local news reports, around 15 inches of snow fell in some northwestern parts of Algeria last weekend.

Although the sight is extremely striking, geologist Stefan Kröpelin told the New York Times that it’s possible that it’s not that rare, as there are parts of the Sahara desert that aren’t frequently monitored.

Elsewhere, snow caused problems in the US state of Florida, where it appeared for the first time in almost 30 years.

Tallahassee, Florida’s capital in the far north of what’s dubbed as the ‘Sunshine State’, awoke in the first several days of the New Year to a dusting of 0.1 inches of snow, the first significant measurement since 1989, according to the Weather Channel.

original (6) A brutal winter storm scattered a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain from normally balmy north Florida up the Southeast seaboard. Source: David Goldman via PA Images

That was followed by what the US National Weather Service called a “bomb cyclone” that hit the East Coast. It resulted in a number of fatalities, thousands of flights being cancelled and blizzard conditions began taking hold in the northeast.

Temperatures were so low in northern New York that Niagara Falls – the giant waterfalls straddling the US-Canadian border – froze.

Weather forecasters dubbed the event a “bomb cyclone,” their nickname for a phenomenon known as “bombogenesis,” in which a weather system experiences a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure and intensifies rapidly, unleashing hurricane-force winds.

U.S.-CALIFORNIA-MONTECITO-MUDSLIDE An aerial view of Montecito, California (11 January). Source: PA Images

In a more recent US weather event, emergency services in California are still searching for those who have gone missing after dramatic flooding and mudslides hit Montecito this week.

Boulders rolled down the hillside towards the residential area, and hundreds of homes are said to have been destroyed in the extreme weather event.

At least 17 people, including children, were killed in an area that’s still reeling from the impact of devastating wildfires.

- With reporting from AFP

Read: Last year broke records for winds, temperatures and summer rainfall

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