Saudi Arabia is the second-largest Arab country and the largest country in the Middle East. It sits on a 2,149,690 square kilometre landmass and has a population of 34.2 million, making it the 12th largest and 174th most populous country in the world. Saudi Arabia is one of the last few absolute monarchs and the home to the two largest and holiest mosques in Islam. But does it snow in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia experiences three climates; a desert climate in most parts of the country, a semi-arid climate in the southwest, and a steppe climate along the western highlands. The country usually records very high temperatures during the day and cold to freezing temperatures at night. Summers in Saudi Arabia are hot and dry, while winters are mild and punctuated by occasional precipitation.
It rarely snows in Saudi Arabia, even in the coldest of winters. However, the country has recorded instances of snowfall in the past, with the most recent one coming in 2016. In January 2016, Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam, recorded snowfall for the first time in 85 years. In late November of the same year, heavy snowstorms fell in many parts of the Arabian desert.
Winter weather in Saudi Arabia
Winters in Saudi Arabia usually run from December to February. Temperatures across the country are generally cool but stay well above freezing point. The average winter temperatures in Saudi Arabia range from highs of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) to lows of 48 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius). In some years, though, recorded temperatures can be as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) or as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius).
Summer weather in Saudi Arabia
Summer in Saudi Arabia usually starts in June and lasts through to August. During this period, average temperatures are high in almost all parts of the country and tend to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). In the desert, temperatures are unbearable and often rise as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
During the summer months, both precipitation and humidity are low in most parts of Saudi Arabia. However, the coastal regions tend to experience high and very oppressive humidity due to the effect of the Arabian Sea.
Raindfaill in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, being a desert country, receives low to negligible amounts of rain throughout the year. The country receives annual rain of 4.4 inches (111 millimetres), but precipitation amounts vary from one region to another. For instance, Riyadh and Al-Dammam record yearly rainfall of 3 inches (75 millimetres) while Jeddah records 2.5 inches (65 millimetres) of rainfall.
Asir, the most precipitous place in Saudi Arabia, records annual rain of 19 inches (480 millimetres), mainly falling between May and October. On the other hand, Rub’ al-Khali, the driest place in the country, records annual rain of 0 inches and can go up to 10 years without seeing any form of rain.
Ski Resorts in Saudi Arabia
Contrary to what many may expect, skiing is a possible event in Saudi Arabia despite the country’s apparent lack of natural snow cover. The country has three ski resorts, albeit indoor ones, having a combined 0.3 kilometres skiable slope.
Snow City – Riyadh
Snow City is an indoor ski arena located in Al Othaim Mall Al Rabwah in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Some of the winter activities offered at the resort include skiing, snowboarding, igloo, sledging, and ice tubing.
The ski resort is situated between elevations of 620 metres and 630 metres and has 0.1 kilometres of slope available for skiing and snowboarding. Snow City caters to beginner skiers and has skiing lessons for both kids and adults.
Mall of Saudi Ski Resort
Mall of Saudi Ski Resort is a planned 400,000 square kilometre indoor ski arena that would be the fourth largest indoor ski resort in the world. The resort will have a winter sports area located between elevations of 660 and 710 metres and will be equipped with three lifts for transporting guests.
Ski Saudi Arabia
Ski Saudi Arabia is a unique ski resort in that it offers sand skiing instead of regular skiing. The sand ski area has a total of 0.2 kilometres of slope available for expert sand skiers and is operational all year round.