Snow blanketed peaks in Oman’s Hajar mountains after temperatures dropped below zero this weekend.
Omanis and foreign residents of the capital, Muscat, flocked to see the snow-covered landscape despite temperatures as low as -3ºC on Jebel Akhdar.
“It is freezing up here. It feels like Switzerland, not Oman,” British resident Ian Phillips, 63, told The National.
“Snow everywhere, every square inch of the place is covered with it. It is completely different from the rest of the country.”
The average temperature in Oman as a whole hovered around 18ºC.
“It is a bit unusual for the temperature there to go down this much in January, because of the recent rains and floods. Normally, it goes to sub-zero in February,” Bader Al Rumhi, a retired director of Meteorological Office at the Civil Aviation Authority, told The National.
Jebel Akhdar, at an elevation of 3,000 metres, is one of the highest peaks in the Hajar range, along with Jebel Shams.
The snowfall there follows heavy rain across the country since New Year’s Eve.
The rain caused the worst flooding since Cyclone Shaheen hit the sultanate in October, but also revived picturesque waterfalls.
Some visitors to Jebel Akhdar camped on a plateau to enjoy the scenery.
“The snow is fluffy and pure white here, just like in Europe. It snowed the whole night last night. All the trees below us are covered in white and the mountain tops are full of snow,” said Abdullah Al Hilali, a terminal duty officer at Muscat International Airport.
“The only drawback is that we cannot light up a fire because it is freezing up here.”
Restaurant owners in the area were delighted with the steady stream of visitors.
“Business is good this time around just because the snow fell a month earlier than usual,” said Adil Al Subhi, who runs a restaurant in the village of Hail Yaman.
“They keep coming all the time, and that’s good for us.”