By Ahlam Ben Saga
Rabat – After snow coated Ouarzazate last week, residents of the region discussed the short-term problems caused by the snowfalls and foretold the future advantages when the cold season comes to an end.
It has not snowed in Ouarzazate in more than 40 years, meaning inhabitants’ only cause for climatic complaint was the chilly air emanating from high-altitude areas in the neighboring Atlas Mountains.
Today, it’s a different story. Ouarzazate is coated in brilliant white and its Sahara Desert is buried under 40 centimeters of snow.
Starting late last month, Ouarzazate experienced heavy rainfall and snowfall, which are eventually expected to bring various long-term benefits to the city and its regions once the cold season comes to an end.
Read Also: When It Snows in Moroccan Desert
Ouarzazate is known for its dry, scorching climate in summertime and the current climate conditions will be good news for the regions’ residents.
Zoubir Bouhout, Director of Local Tourism Office (CRT) in Ouarzazate, told Morocco World News that there will be “positive and negative impacts on the area.”
“The region of Ouarzazate usually deals with a set of problems, including agricultural difficulties and limited water resources due to its dry climate, but thanks to the current rainfall and snowfall, the air will be cleared of any potential viruses that often spread diseases in the region and dangerously influence the health of people suffering from breathing problems,” he said.
Moreover, Bouhout foretold that the snow melts “will fill Ouarzazate’s El Mansour Eddahabi dam and provide potable water for inhabitants as well as supplementary water for farming.”
However, there is no denying the immediate inconveniences and difficulties created by the unusual weather conditions.
Read Also: Southern Morocco Under Snow for First Time
Bouhout continued, “There are some difficulties that snow is presenting for now, such as blocked roads to Marrakech, Tichka, Sekkoura, Tinghir, and others that lead in and out of the region. This both results in travel delays and hinders the transportation of goods.”
Ouarzazate Airport is also facing complications due to the bad weather, compounding the region’s temporary isolation.
“The condition of the Airport is no different […] an Airplane was supposed to take off from Ouarzazate to Casablanca one morning but the trip was cancelled. Other scheduled air trips between Casblanca, Zagoura, and Ouarzazate are prone to delays as well.”
The current weather condition in Ouarzazate is also expected to hamper tourism for a while.
“Tourists who usually visit from Marrakech or the surrounding areas on tours around the region will not be encouraged by the current circumstances.”
According to Bouhout, snow blocks isolated the southeast region’s villages and the locals demanded a tunnel in Tichka to solve the isolation definitively.
Road workers are making notable efforts to remove snow blocks and open the way for travellers to enjoy the picturesque scenery of Ouarzazate, known as “the gateway to the Sahara Desert,” sheathed in snow.
Despite all this, residents are recording the rare view on their electronic devices and in their minds.
Many people took to social media to share photos and videos with the rest of the country, as they now enjoy the snow while it lasts.
Generally, the coldest month in Ouarzazate is January, with an average of 10 degrees Celsius (49 degrees Fahrenheit). These days, Ouarzazate’s dew point is -6 degrees Celsius (21.2 degrees Fahrenheit).
And this is not the last of it: the Directorate of National Meteorology recently released its projection for the days ahead. The weather forecast: more snow.