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Why certain parts of Europe saw orange snow

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 28 March 2018, 18:23 IST

People in Eastern Europe woke up to find a blanket of orange snow.The photos from the mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania are surreal, like a perfectly toasted marshmallow sky. What was the reason behind parts of Europe seeing the world in sepia tones? The answer lies hundreds of miles away.

The atmosphere briefly applied an orange-brown filter to parts of Europe as a dense Saharan dust storm kick into the air and swept north.

UK’s Met Office tweeted, “Orange snow has been reported in eastern Europe and Russia. Saharan storms brought sand and dust across the Mediterranean, which mixed with the snow. This also turned skies an eerie shade of red across Cyprus”.

A trail of storms have been going through Italy, the Balkans, Ukraine and into western Russia, and finally this last storm that finally moved through, an area of lower pressure closer to the northern coast of Libya, helped pull the dust up. The low-pressure system propelled the dust along before it finally made its way back to the ground over parts of Eastern Europe.

Steven Keates, a weather forecaster at the UK’s Met Office, told the Independent: “As the sand gets lifted to the upper levels of the atmosphere, it gets distributed elsewhere. Looking at satellite imagery from NASA, it shows a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean.”

But while that particular combination with white snow may be uncommon, there’s nothing new about sandy dust making its way into the atmosphere.

According to meteorologists, the phenomenon occurs roughly every five years. 

First published: 28 March 2018, 18:23 IST
 
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