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Baghdad covered in snow for second time this century

Snowfall in Baghdad [@Uncleebotv /Twitter]
Snowfall in Baghdad on 11 February 2020 [@Uncleebotv /Twitter]

Baghdad woke up covered in a thin layer of snow this morning for only the second time this century, and the first in over ten years.

Pictures and videos show young people enjoying snowball fights, and photoshoots, while some residents used the rare opportunity to make snowmen. Many said, via Twitter, this is the first time they have ever seen snow.

The last recorded snowfall in the city was in 2008, prior to which, Baghdad had not seen snow in over a century. The city's palm trees were dusted in white this morning, and the long-standing protest camp in Tahrir square was sprinkled in snow.

Media Head of the Iraqi Meteorological Centre, Amer Al-Jaberi, said: "Snowfall may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather", adding that "this cold wave came from Europe."

The people of Baghdad are more used to heat than cold, with temperatures reaching an all-time high of 51 degrees Celsius on 21 July 2016.

The Shia holy city of Karbala was also covered in snow this morning, with videos showing falling flakes at the Imam Hussein Mosque.

Iraq is prone to natural disasters as a result of extreme weather events, after water shortages in 2018 sparked a health crisis in the centre and south. The following year, however, heavy rains caused flooding and catastrophic damage to homes and arable farming.

The snow comes as light relief from protests which have swept the country since 1 October 2019 and left nearly 700 dead.

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