The Sahara is not the perpetual oven of baking sand, as many believe. It has the typical continental climate of alternating hot and cold seasons. Its high temperatures range up to the 136.4 deg F (58 deg C) recorded at Al-Aziziyah, Libya, and as low as 5 deg F (-15 deg C) in the Tibesti mountains in midwinter.
The Sahara's climate consists of basically two sub-climates, a dry subtropical climate in the north and a dry tropical climate in the south. The dry tropical climate is generally characterized by mild, dry winters, a hot dry season just before the rainy season, and an annual temperature cycle. The dry subtropical climate, however, is characterized by annually high temperature ranges, cold winters, hot summers and two rainy seasons. There is a narrow strip in the western portion of the Sahara, along the coast, which generally has cool temperatures compared to the rest of the Sahara because of the influence of cold Canary Current.
In living memory, it was not until February 18, 1979, that snow fell on the Sahara. A half-hour storm in southern Algeria stopped traffic. But within a few hours all the snow had melted.