Dubai has a desert and hyper-arid climate, and its proximity to the sea makes the summer months hot and humid. While the winter months bring thunderstorms and rain, they don’t bring snow.
It doesn’t snow in Dubai. The capital city of Dubai Emirate sits just 52 feet (15.85 m) above sea level along the Persian Gulf Coast. It’s only 113 miles (181.86 km) from the Tropic of Cancer line, where the sun’s rays are directly overhead. Therefore, it’s not possible for snow to form.
The rest of this article will explore the climate and weather of Dubai and nearby areas. I’ll also discuss what it takes for snow to occur and why Dubai doesn’t get any. Let’s get started!
Does It Snow in Dubai?
It doesn’t snow in Dubai because the climate doesn’t allow it, unlike places like Rome, where snow is very rare but still possible.
To further understand why it doesn’t snow in Dubai, it’s important to review the circumstances that make snow possible in the first place.
Snow will form and fall under the following two conditions:
- Freezing temperatures
Snow formation happens when the temperature in the atmosphere is at or below freezing, which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0°C). However, for the snow to not melt in the air as it falls, the freezing temperature must be consistent from the clouds to the ground.
This is why snow is often found on mountains, as the atmospheric temperature is lower at higher altitudes.
It’s important to note that though it can be too warm for snow to form, it can never be too cold.
Precipitation is when there’s a sufficient amount of water in the clouds. When the water droplets get too heavy, they fall to the ground in various forms, depending on the temperature. Freezing temperatures are needed to cause those water droplets to become ice.
Water droplets can start as snow and then turn into rain before it lands, which is something that commonly happens when the temperature gets warmer on the way down.
If you’re interested, here’s a great YouTube video about snow formation:
Does Dubai Ever Get Cold?
Dubai does get cold. 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.56 °C) is considered relatively cold for Dubai. In the winter, Dubai can experience temperatures as low as 50-54 degrees Fahrenheit (10-12.22 °C), which is considered chilly but not freezing.
Here are the average monthly temperatures for Dubai:
|January||60 °F (15.56 °C)||76 °F (24.44 °C)||67.8 °F (19.89 °C)|
|February||62 °F (16.67 °C)||79 °F (26.11 °C)||70.2 °F (21.22 °C)|
|March||66 °F (18.89 °C)||84 °F (28.89 °C)||74.9 °F (23.83 °C)|
|April||72 °F (22.22 °C)||92 °F (33.33 °C)||82.4 °F (28 °C)|
|May||79 °F (26.11 °C)||100 °F (37.78 °C)||89.8 °F (32.11 °C)|
|June||84 °F (28.89 °C)||104 °F (40 °C)||94 °F (34.44 °C)|
|July||88 °F (31.11 °C)||107 °F (41.67 °C)||97.4 °F (36.33 °C)|
|August||89 °F (31.67 °C)||107 °F (41.67 °C)||98 (36.67 °C)|
|September||84 °F (28.89 °C)||103 °F (39.44 °C)||93.6 (34.22 °C)|
|October||78 °F (25.56 °C)||96 °F (35.56 °C)||87.1 (30.61 °C)|
|November||70 °F (21.11 °C)||87 °F (30.56 °C)||78.6 (25.89 °C)|
|December||63 °F(17.22 °C)||80 °F (26.67 °C)||71.5 (21.94 °C)|
Therefore, winters in Dubai are comfortable and cool but not cool enough for snow. Dubai never has the conditions needed for snow formation. Thunderstorms are common during these months, along with occasional hail. However, the air never gets consistently cold enough from the clouds to the ground, which is the second condition needed for snow.
The Difference Between Hail and Snow
A hailstorm hit Dubai in March 2020. This is a rare event, but it happens from time to time. Hail and snow are not the same.
Hailstones are pellets of frozen raindrops, while snow is when tiny ice crystals stick together. Hail forms during thunderstorms when raindrops are lifted into a freezing temperature of the atmosphere. When the hailstones become too heavy, they fall from the sky. Hail can still turn into rain, depending on the temperature near the ground.
Dubai sometimes meets the conditions to get hail but not snow.
When Did Dubai Get Snow?
The only snow in Dubai is artificially made in their indoor ski resorts. Ski Dubai, for example, produces snow daily by:
- Chilling water
- Sending that chilled water through pipes
- Blasting the chilled water out of ceiling snow guns into freezing air
In other words, they replicate the actual process of snow formation with machinery, plumbing, and design.
There’s no record of Dubai ever getting natural snow. However, Dubai is in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Ras Al Khaimah on the east side of the UAE is home to the country’s tallest mountain, Jebel Al Jais, where snow has been reported only four times in the last 20 years.
Places in the Middle East That Do Get Snow
|Tabuk, Saudi Arabia||2,493 feet (759.87 meters)|
|Mount Lebanon, Lebanon||2,500 feet (762 meters)|
|Mount Damavand, Iran||18,405.5 feet (5,610 meters)|
|Wadi Rum, Jordan||5,249 feet (1,560 meters)|
|Jabal Shams, Oman||9,934 feet (3,027.89 meters)|
|Mount Hermon, Israel||9,232 feet (2,813.91 meters)|
Most of the above areas are mountains. The important takeaway here is the elevation level. While Dubai is only 52 feet (15.85 m) above sea level, these other areas in the Middle East are thousands of feet above sea level.
Take a look at this YouTube video that shows “Ski Dubai”
What Is the Hottest Month in Dubai?
Besides the intense heat, Dubai summers are extremely humid, with enough wind to cause dust storms.
The hottest month in Dubai is August. The highest temperature ever recorded was just over 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48.33 °C). Not quite as hot as the nearby town of Sweihan, which reached more than 125 degrees (51.67 °C) in June 2021.
Why Dubai Is a Hot and Dry Climate
Dubai’s proximity to the Tropic of Cancer plays a big part in its hot and dry climate. As stated already in this article, the Tropic of Cancer is the northernmost circle of latitude on the planet at which the sun’s rays can be directly overhead. It passes through several countries with similar hot and dry climates.
Did you know Dubai is actually a City and not a country? Check out our article.
Aside from being artificially made in the indoor ski resorts, it’ll be a rare weather event for Dubai to ever get snow otherwise. There are two points this article has established of why that is:
- Snow requires freezing temperatures and sufficient precipitation.
- Dubai and the majority of the UAE rarely meet these two requirements.
The country’s highest peak has only gotten snow four times in the last 20 years. Occasionally there is hail in Dubai, but never snow.