Think it’s cold out there now? Oh you sweet summer child…

An ambient outdoor temperature of 25ºC constitutes an unbearable heatwave in most of Northern Europe, with trainlines combusting, wild market spikes for cola flavoured ice pops and a barbecue-led extinction of garage forecourt charcoal. But here in the UAE, we’ve become accustomed to conditions a few notches further up the mercury stick.

By now, the average UAE resident has likely already dug their ‘winter’ clothes out of the closet — ‘those’ boots (you know the ones), oversized wooly jumpers, baggy hoodies and the leather jacket. Or depending on who’s winning the AC wars in your office they may already be in permenant rotation.

This week’s weather

The National Centre of Meteorology’s (NCM) forcast for the upcoming week hints at more seasonal chills, continued “partly cloudy” skies and “a probability of light rainfall”. That’s for the more densely populated, coastal regions of the country. Things, as you’d probably predict, take a more frosty turn when it comes to the mountainous areas.

Here, amongst the crooked crags of the accumulated Jebels, you can expect lows of around 8ºC. Which is still technically barbecue weather in the North of England but then almost anything outside of a force 10, sideways rain, gale is.

It’s been colder though. A lot colder.

Does it ever snow in the UAE?

Back in February 2017 Jebel Jais received a, let’s avoid hyperbole, ‘reasonably thick’ blanket of snow. It’s not quite enough to head off-piste and rip a 1080 cross-rocket into fresh powder, no mile-high ice walls preventing wildling raiding parties, but more than enough to say, stage a hamlet-strong snowball fight.

The same scenes were repeated in January 2020, but temperatures tumbled even further in January 2021, with the country reporting the coldest start to the year on record.

But what’s the coldest it’s ever been in the UAE?

The coldest temperature ever recorded in the UAE was just -2ºC, in that January 2021 — and perhaps most surprisingly, it was observed by meteorological equipment based in Raknah, Al Ain — which is not halfway up a mountain, this is a low-lying area.

That was the first time since records began, that temperatures in the UAE have breached the zero degrees barrier (yes we know, outside of your office) and points to more evidence of an evolving climate in the region.

Image credit: @jyo_john_mulloor via Instagram