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Snowfall in the Sahara Desert

More than 40cm (15 inches) of snow has blanketed sand dunes across the small town of Ain Sefra, Algeria which is 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. It is the second time snow has fallen in nearly 40 years, with the last occurring in December 2016.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "Cold air was pulled down south in to North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe. The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal."

Hottest day in Sydney since 1939

Temperatures reached 47.3°C in Penrith, Sydney on Sunday 7th January – the hottest temperature in the region in 79 years, when the mercury previously reached 47.8°C.

Severe fire warnings were issued for the greater Sydney area and thousands of properties across New South Wales were left without electricity, partly because of the heat. England's batsmen also struggled on the hottest day on what was also record heat for a Test match in Australia.

Storm Eleanor causes disruption at the start of 2018

On 2nd and 3rd January, a low-pressure system moving across from the Atlantic brought very wet and windy weather to the UK.  Storm Eleanor, the fifth named storm of the season, brought gusts of up to 100 mph, leaving thousands of homes without power, blowing over trees and disrupting travel across parts of Wales, England, southern Scotland and most of Northern Ireland.

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

As we head closer to December, one of the questions we are often asked as meteorologists is “Will it be a white Christmas?” The first thing to clarify, is what exactly is being asked – do you want to know if anywhere in the UK will see a single snow flake or are you envisaging streets and roofs with a dusting of the white stuff when you wake up on 25 December. 

Snow!

Swathes of the country were blanketed in snow on 10th and 11th December 2017, particularly Wales and large parts of England, as the Met Office issued yellow and amber warnings to many parts. The heavy snow led to power cuts, disrupted air, rail and road travel and resulted in hundreds of schools in England and Wales staying closed on the 11th.

Record-breaking rainbow in Taiwan

A rainbow, reportedly lasting nearly 9 hours, has been witnessed over the Chinese Culture University in the mountains of Taipei.

Prof Chou, Prof Liu Ching-huang and students documented the rainbow. Their observations, pictures and video recordings showed the rainbow lasted from 06:57 until 15:55 – totalling eight hours and 58 minutes.

If confirmed by Guinness World Records, it would obliterate the previous record for the longest-lasting rainbow, set in Yorkshire, England, on 14 March 1994, which lasted from 09:00 to 15:00. Rainbows typically last much less than an hour.