Sunday, 15 December 2013

Snow in Cairo

A few days ago, we had quite a few reports of snow in Cairo, an event apparently rare enough to make the news. The above headline from the Mirror is fairly typical. Other examples are :-

Playing in Cairo snow a first in 112 years
Snow Falls In Cairo For The First Time In More Than 100 Years

Egypt Sees First Snow Storm In Years

As I'm mildly interested in snowfall I decided to check it out. I soon came across the more nuanced view below, although you wouldn't guess from the headline. 

From all accounts, snow in Cairo is exceptionally rare – although historical records are difficult to attain. Some reports suggest it’s the first snow in Cairo in over 100 years – although they are not substantiated.

New York Magazine offers this intelligence:

Claims that this is Cairo’s first snowfall in exactly 112 years seem to be sourced from a tweet by one local man who later admitted he was just guesstimating. Whatever the exact number is, though, the point is that it basically never snows in Cairo.

Yet this weather site has snowfall records from Cairo airport going back to 1943. It shows snowfall on at least one day in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2003 and 2004. 

Maybe the recent Cairo snowfall was uncommonly heavy or widespread, but if those figures are correct it was a long way from being the first in 112 years. Unless in the past it only ever snowed at the airport. Somehow I doubt that.


Demetrius said...

On that subject you might like this:

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I'll give the Kindle version a try, although I don't see the Cairo/snow connection.

Mac said...

Waaaaay back in early 2011 I was in Cairo and met up with a colleague, who was staying there long term, early one morning and I remarked how cool it was. He showed me a photo taken a couple of weeks previously, very early morning, of settled snow laying on the balcony of his hotel room. Looked like, and he said it was, almost a half inch worth. It did, however, disappear very early sun-up he said.

A K Haart said...

Mac - I'm not surprised. While checking this story I came across similar reports which journalists could easily have checked. Can't resist the headlines I suppose.