Heavy snow blankets areas of Iraq’s Kurdish region

Snowfall is rare in one of the world’s hottest countries

A view of a snow covered road in Suleimaniyah in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region on January 10, 2019. (Photo by Shwan MOHAMMED / AFP)

Heavy snow swept large areas of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region on Monday, following a sharp drop in temperatures that halted movement between key cities.

Kurdish authorities near the Iran border warned citizens not to cross the Haji Omaran border unless it is urgent, as heavy snow and wind made driving conditions difficult.

Local reports said “snowfall has risen to one metre in some areas around mountainous areas, especially the Amadiyah district in Dohuk Governorate".

Amadiyah lies 70 kilometres north of Dohuk and is 1,400 meters above sea level. The well-known summer resort is built on top of a mountain.

The official border crossings between the Kurdistan Region and Iran are the Haji Omaran in Erbil province, Bashmakh in Sulaymaniyah province, and Parvizkhan in the Garmiyan administration.

Snowfall is an extremely rare phenomenon for Iraq, one of the world’s hottest countries.

But it is common in the northern part of the country, particularly in the mountainous areas.

In 2020, the capital, Baghdad, was covered in snow for the first time since 1914.

Iraqi boys play with snow in the holy Shiite city of Karbala on February 11, 2020. - Iraq's capital Baghdad woke up covered in a thin layer of fresh snow, an extremely rare phenomenon for one of the world's hottest countries. Snow also covered the Shiite holy city of Karbala further south and Mosul in the north, where heavier precipitation left a blanket of snow over the city's centuries-old ruins. (Photo by Mohammed SAWAF / AFP)

The last time the city saw snow was in 2008, though that was a quick, slushy fall. Cold temperatures are unusual in the Iraqi capital's mild winters.

Many shared photos of the weather in the north on Twitter.

Kurdistan region's senior diplomat, Safeen Dizayee, wrote “First snow of 2022 #pirmam, Salahadin.”

Sazan Mandalawi, wrote “postcard from Sulaymaniyah- this morning,” it is one of three provinces that make up the Kurdistan region.

Updated: January 17, 2022, 10:10 AM
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