Snow has again blanketed the streets of parts of southern Morocco, a rare sight for an area that until the end of January hadn’t seen the wintery mix for at least 50 years.
Ouarzazate, nicknamed “The door of the desert”, is the site of one of the largest solar plants in the world and is the first stage of a larger project to boost renewable energy production in Morocco. All the panels were covered in snow for at least a day and the city was cut off until the roads were cleared.
Snow also fell in the town of Zagora, in southeast Morocco, well beyond the Atlas Mountains.
February started on a cold note. The National Meteorological Directorate had forecast a drop of temperature, with frost or ice to follow. Throughout the mountains and plateau, snow fell at heights above 1200 metres. There are ski resorts in Morocco but at closer to 3000-metre elevation.
The Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday the temporary closure of 900 rural schools. Snowstorms blocked 38 roads, according to the Ministry of Transport, as snow depths ranged from 50cm to two metres, especially in the high and medium Atlas.
Rabat, the capital city, recorded at least 103mm of rain in the last three days, exceeding the February average by 39 percent.
The wintry weather is not over. Another 25cm of snow is possible in the southern Atlas range over the next three days.