Reuters

Extreme heat in Australia, snow in the Middle East.

A surprisingly heavy snowstorm blanketed much of the Middle East this week, to the delight of the residents of Istanbul, Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia. As The Atlantic's Alan Taylor writes about his collection of pictures of the snow: 

I discovered a wide range of unique images, from Saudis tossing snowballs to Israelis on sleds to the newly white roofs of Istanbul. Gathered here are a handful of those images, showing that, despite the harshness of the storm, some were able to find a moment of joy in the rare snowfall.

See even more images on his In Focus blog.

 Boys play in the courtyard of the Sultanahmet mosque, known as the Blue mosque, during a snow storm in Istanbul, Turkey. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)
A man plays with snow after a heavy snowstorm in the desert, near Tabuk, 932 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters/Mohamed Alhwaity)



Men play with snow after a heavy snowstorm in Amman, Jordan. Snowstorms and heavy rain have caused the closure of main streets in the capital Amman and other cities over the past two days. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji)
Flamingos in their snow-covered enclosure in Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo. The worst snowstorm in 20 years shut public transport, roads and schools in Jerusalem on Thursday and along the northern Israeli region bordering on Lebanon. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
Men play with snow after a heavy snowstorm in Amman citadel. Snowstorms and heavy rain have caused the closure of main streets in Jordan's capital Amman and other cities over the past two days. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji)

 

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