In just five days, the southern city of Algeria, Tamanrasset, has received 45mm of rainfall. This amount of rain is highly unusual as it is more than what is usually expected in a year. The city settles in a valley of the Ahhagar massif. Ahhagar is a big volcanic mountain range in the Sahara Desert. A major part of Ahhagar is a national park, and the popular hermitage site of Assekrem, also lies in this massif.
Assekrem is located up high in the mountains at a height of 2,700 meters above sea level. It receives an annual rainfall of about 118mm. However, the site has received 130 mm rainfall between March 19 and 24 thereby crossing its annual expectation. This builds up to around 110 per cent of average annual rainfall.
Although mountains generally produce good amounts of rain, the Sahara is normally too dry to release adequate amount of moisture. But in March this year, water vapor from the Atlantic travelled through the desert in generous amounts thereby causing rain in the Algerian valley.
Satellite imagery shows a long spread of clouds stretching from Guinea to Libya. For now, the rain has stopped in the mountains. But at the same time, unusual early rain showers have showed up in Sahel. This is in Niger and Mali.