Residents of Baghdad, Iraq woke up to the city blanketed in rare snow on Tuesday, February 11, 2020-- a sight last seen in 2008 and the second time in more than a century. According to the Iraqi Meteorological Organization, the country is exposed to a cold polar air mass which peaked on the same day.
Iraqi families awaited the snow at dawn as people of all ages-- from children to elderlies-- gathered in the yards, enjoying the snow. Residents took photos while kids played in parks, lobbing snowfalls before the flakes disappeared and the white blanket of snow dissolved into puddles.
"I woke up at dawn and I was surprised to see the snow covering the whole garden and my car, then I woke up my wife and two children who dashed to see the incredible view," said 35-year-old Rawad Hassan.
Hassan added that the event gave Iraqis relief as the country has been facing unrest for the past few months-- a top Iranian general was killed around early January, sparking tensions between the country and the U.S.
Furthermore, over 500 people have died in the protests when security forces used tear gas to disperse crowds in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
In Tahrir Square, the core of the protest movement, protesters took a moment to bask in the snow.
Snow in Baghdad today, the first time in a very long time pic.twitter.com/exaSsejBlj— Hanan (@hananjx) February 11, 2020
Snow in Baghdad for the first time in 56 years !! Is the ice age coming back?— Basim Razzo (@basimrazzo) February 11, 2020
Photo from Baghdad Airport and for snow covered tents. The protesters spent a very chilly night and refused to go home!@AzmatZahra @RashaAlAqeedi pic.twitter.com/gj7A2M190g
"Thank God it is snowing this morning," said one protester named Aymen Ahmed.
"The atmosphere is beautiful. The people are very happy because this is the first time snow falls in Iraq."
The last recorded snowfall in the city was in 2008, but it was mostly slushy and occurred quickly. Prior to that, about a century has passed since Baghdad saw flakes.
The Iraqi Meteorological Organization said Tuesday's snow was due to the country's exposure to a cold polar air mass, which reached its climax that day.
"Snowfall may continue until Wednesday given the very cold weather," said Amer Al-Jaberi, head of the agency.
Featured image credit: @hannanjx/Twitter