December 23 2016 – Faith in the African Flakes?  A rare storm and arctic air mass slipped south of Europe and across the Mediterranean Sea to northern Africa dropping snow earlier this week for the first time in 37 years.   You may have noticed new reports of Aleppo in Syria being evacuated with snow and cold air impacting the refugees. Similar weather is responsible for a coating of snow on the edge of the Sahara Desert  between Morocco and Algeria. According the NASA’s Earth Observatory:

“On December 19, 2016, snow fell on the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, which is sometimes referred to as the “gateway to the desert.” The town of roughly 35,000 people sits between the Atlas Mountains and the northern edge of the Sahara. The last recorded snowfall in Ain Sefra occurred in February 1979”.

So contrary to Band Aid in 1984, there is snow in Africa this Christmas.  FITF!  Well, some may be left along the highest ridges. In fact there is snow all year in the glacier on top of Kilomanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. Also on the Atlas Mountains along the border between Morocco and Algeria. There is snow and some skiing in parts of South Africa as well.

The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on the Landsat 7 satellite acquired a natural-color image (above) of snow in North Africa on December 19, 2016. The scene shows an area near the border of Morocco and Algeria, south of the city of Bouarfa and southwest of Ain Sefra.

Though news accounts have been dominated by the snow in the desert city, a review of several years of satellite data suggests that snow is also unusual in this section of the Saharan Atlas range. The images below show December observations made over the past four years by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) instruments on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites. The false-color images blend infrared, shortwave infrared, and visible red wavelengths, and snow shows up as a bright blue-green color.


So, perhaps they do know it is Christmas time after all. Let’s keep political issues out of this for a moment and enjoy an 80s throwback to the Band Aid video many of us remember. Can you name any of the collection of these pop singers in 1984?

Do They Know It’s Christmas Time – Video


US Snow Map

42.9% of the country was covered with snow as of the morning of Friday December 23. 2016

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Faith in the Flakes Online- Flannel PJs Printed Inside Out

Store Now Open

  • We’ve added Flannel PJ Pants that will be printed inside out. They have to be, to make it snow ?
  • Free Personal Delivery for orders of 20 items or more to schools and businesses.
  • Click this image for the online store.
  • Look for more items to be added soon.
  • Also see the info for the STEM Assembly Spirit Wear program:  Put your school name on the shirts and raise money for you PTO/PTA in the process.


thatcher_snowsticksAvailable in 2 Ft, 30 Inches, and 3 Ft Sizes. Also with Orange/Black or Purple/Black. Click on the image to see the options offered by my friend Thatcher at Signs By Tomorrow in Timonium.

Go to to order yours today! Click the ‘Request a Quote’ button at the top of the page. In comment box include color, size and payment information. Please indicate whether you’d like to have us UPS ship them to you or if you would like to pick up in our store. Snow Sticks will ship or will be ready for pick up in our store 48 hrs after order is placed, Mon-Fri.

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Get the award winning Kid Weather App I made with my oldest son and support our love for science, weather, and technology. Our 3 year anniversary of the release and our contribution to STEM education is this November. It has been downloaded in 60 countries, and works in both temperature scales. With your support we can expand on the fun introduction to science and real weather.

Also See:

My Winter Outlook for 2016-2017: Colder with snow spread out more

Maryland Winters

NOAA Winter Outlook for 2016 to 2017

La Nina Formed: What it could mean to our winter

Farmers Almanacs Split On Cold And Snow

Extreme Weather of 2015 balanced out on both ends

Low Snow Winters In Baltimore: Records Might Surprise You

NOAA Ranks Blizzard 2016 4th Worst Snowstorm On Record

Blizzard 2016 Record Top Snowstorm: Area Totals