July 23, 2001 -- Thousands of people seeking relief from 100-plus temperatures in Saudi Arabia got an unexpected surprise today during a visit to a national park in the mountains.
They got snow — several inches of it. There was enough to trap thousands of park-goers.
Civil defense teams were called in after 75 people were injured in the ensuing panic. Several hundred were rescued by helicopters and mountain jeeps.
Ski Saudi Arabia!
Saudi Arabia's prevailing climate is hot and dry, but frost and freezing temperatures have been reported in winter.
Rainfall is considered very sparse with an average annual precipitation of just 4 inches.
However, there are mountains in the country's southwest, near its border with Yemen. Saudi entrepeneurs, undaunted by the lack of snow in the kingdom, have even been attempting to build ski resorts there with the help of snow-making machines.