Unusual weather stuns Middle East, Vietnam

Unusual weather stuns Middle East, Vietnam
Saudi men walk as their footprints are seen after a snowstorm in Alkan village, west of Saudi Arabia December 13, 2013.

Heavy rain and floods in Vietnam - possible. Dry spell in Saudi Arabia and most of the Middle East - also possible. No rain in Egypt - that can happen.

Snow in these countries? Within the realms of fantasy, you may say.

But pictures here show what could be termed freak weather, in regions where snowfall has been strictly confined to books and movies.

On Sunday, Saudis woke up to a sight they were not used to. Snow covered highlands in the northwestern part of the region after it was hit by snow and thunderstorms for several hours, news portal emirates247.com reported.

Newspapers said temperatures dipped below zero in the north-western town of Tabuk close to the border with Jordan as well as surrounding mountainous areas.

The Arabic language daily, Ajel, published pictures showing the snow-covered areas, in sharp contrast with the hot, yellow sand dunes in eastern Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter), one of the deadliest and most barren deserts in the world.

Closer home, parts of North Vietnam saw snow for the first time in many years, Qatar TV network Al-Jazeera reported.

The snow caused a five-hour traffic jam as people drove into the mountainous provinces of Lao Cai and Ha Giang to see snow flakes which formed a huge white blanket.

This is the dry season but torrential rain has also been lashing Laos, Vietnam and south-east China.

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