Yellow, orange and brown stuff falling from the sky? Snowed-in residents mystified by strange phenomenon
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
April 12, 2019, 4:51:01 AM EDT
(Twitter photo/Jaclyn Doble)
(Twitter photo/Gary Klein)
(Twitter photo/Amy Juaire)
(Twitter photo/Minnesota Gass Geek)
(Photo/Dr. Nathan Moore, Physics Professor, Winona State University)
People were puzzled across the central United States on Thursday when they looked outside to see an unusual sight: brown snow.
Snow appeared to have a yellow, orange or brown tint to it in parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minneapolis was one of the bigger cities that saw this unusual weather phenomenon.
The origins of these colors can be traced back hundreds of miles to Texas and New Mexico.
On Wednesday, powerful winds on the back side of the storm in the central U.S. picked up dust and lofted it high into the atmosphere. These winds blew the dust northward, where it mixed with the snow and fell on the northern side of the storm on Thursday.
The colored snow is not harmful, although people may not want to attempt to eat it.
Although colored snow like this is unusual, it is not unheard of. Earlier this winter, black snow fell in Russia as coal dust mixed in with snow before falling to the ground.
The National Weather Service (NWS) explained the origin of the dust on Twitter with the help of imagery from the GOES-16 weather satellite.
.@NWSTwinCities Here's the #GOES16 Split Window (10.3-11.2 µm) from 0301-1546 UTC, showing the yellow signature of airborne dust making its way northward overnight: https://t.co/S3YcGr3K5O Should see reports of "dirty snow" from parts of #SDwx #IAwx #WIwx & even the UP of #MIwx pic.twitter.com/uEF6uB4TuC— Scott Bachmeier (@CIMSS_Satellite) April 11, 2019
Look closely. The snow in Watertown, SD is intermixed with top soil lofted/carried northeast likely from as far as the West Texas/southern Plains region. @accuweather @breakingweather #Blizzard pic.twitter.com/JyGIw2dJ0S— Blake Naftel (@BlakeNaftel) April 11, 2019
Don’t eat the snow!— Chris Kuball (@ChrisKuball) April 11, 2019
Notice the brown / orange tint to it? Check out my comparison picture.
That dirty tint is coming from dirt blown in from the desert SW with this storm! #mnwx @NWSTwinCities #abc6wx @JimPeteWX11 @blaisekellerr pic.twitter.com/q4zMXqmzxc
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
These 2 EMTs drove their ambulance into an EF3 tornado and survived -- and they have the video to prove it
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 9:06:23 PM EDT
They're lucky to be alive after driving 'into the heart of the tornado,' which a look at their vehicle after the ordeal confirms.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 1:25:13 PM EDT
Temperatures in Coachella on Friday were in the 90s, and the discovery a homeless man made that day was the difference between life and death, officials say.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 10:42:58 PM EDT
The hottest days of the year will grip much of central and northern India in the coming days, and this heat wave is unlikely to end anytime soon.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 2:06:33 PM EDT
As the excitement builds for the NFL Draft 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee, from Thursday to Saturday, the weather may have other plans for the first round.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 11:37:58 AM EDT
Heavy rainfall caused deadly flooding and turned roadways into raging rivers in parts of eastern South Africa Monday night into Tuesday.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 10:40:35 PM EDT
A new tropical threat in the southern Indian Ocean may bring life-threatening weather to parts of Mozambique and Tanzania later this week.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 8:47:39 PM EDT
While a severe weather outbreak is not expected, heavy, gusty thunderstorms will stretch from the eastern Great Lakes to the central Appalachians and part of the Ohio Valley into Tuesday evening.