For the first time in the desert country's history, snow blanketed the peak of Jais Mountain in the northern United Arab Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah Sunday.
So rare was the snowfall that a lifelong resident of the area said the local dialect does not even have a word for 'snow,' the UAE daily The National reported.
“Twenty years ago we had lots of hail [but] last night was like this. At four in the morning we came out and the ground was white,” the paper quoted lifelong resident of the area Aisha al Hebsy, 50, as saying.
Limited snowfall had been recorded on the mountain in 2004, but for the first time in its history the mountain's peak was fully covered in about 20 centimeter (8 inches)-thick snow and temperatures dropped far below zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), the WAM news agency reported.
A helicopter pilot who flew up to the top of the mountain said: “The sight up there this morning was totally unbelievable, with the snow-capped mountain and the entire area covered with fresh, dazzling white snow.”
“The snowfall started at 3 p.m. Friday, and heavy snowing began at 8 p.m. and continued till midnight, covering the entire area in a thick blanket of snow. Much of the snow was still there even when we flew back from the mountain this afternoon. It is still freezing cold up there and there are chances that it might snow again tonight,” Major Saeed Rashid al-Yamahi was quoted by local press as saying.
The sight up there this morning was totally unbelievable, with the snow-capped mountain and the entire area covered with fresh, dazzling white snow
A neighbor of the bustling city of Dubai that is a top vacation destination for those seeking sun and sand, Ras Al Khaimah's government said plans were in the works to capitalize on the country's only mountainous region by building a ski resort.
The plans would see Jebel Jais—which stands 1,900 meters (6233 feet) above sea level—become the UAE’s first outdoor ski resort and will use Australian technology to allow tourists to ski in temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
Jebel Jais is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of the city of Ras Al Khaimah.
For the rest of the UAE there was heavy rain coupled with thunder and lightning and in Sharjah's Al Khan area it hailed for approximately 20 minutes on Friday night.