Weather is weird. There’s been a snow-covered Sahara, and now snow with a hint of dust.
The monster storm that tore across the Midwest this week got our atmosphere all types of wild. So wild, in fact, that winds picked up dust from deserts in New Mexico and Texas and wound up dropping it, alongside snow, all over people’s yards in South Dakota and Minnesota.
— Devon Bowker (@devthenatureguy) April 11, 2019
Why does all the snow and sleet have a brownish tiny to it?? Both in my neighborhood and a few blocks over. Could it really be dirt from the Plains or something?!? Anyone have insight? pic.twitter.com/hwTVoI97aH
— Tanner Verstegen (@VerstegenWX) April 11, 2019
Hot, dry conditions in the Southwest, combined with the storm’s ferocious winds—which reached speeds of over 113km per hour in some places—created widespread fire danger this week. These conditions also allowed dust to get lofted high into the air before it precipitated out farther north. Winds were strong enough to transport dust from places like the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.
People have been posting photos on Twitter of their slightly off-colour snow. As weird as this may seem, it’s not a first. Just last year, Europe got hit with some orange snow full of dust from the Sahara. The snow colouring homes in the Midwest has got nothing on the bright stuff that fell over Russia and Moldova last year, but it’s definitely not your average snow.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tweeted some “Dust in the Wind” would be appropriate for the occasion. Thanks, NOAA. Truly.
It's time to cue up "Dust in the Wind"???? Strong winds lofted dust into the air over New Mexico and Texas yesterday. The longest arrow in this #GOESEast loop points to White Sands National Monument, which was one of the dust sources. More imagery: https://t.co/DmFcq9LqF6 pic.twitter.com/S4hNKJ6Gfb
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) April 11, 2019
Here are several #GOESEast views of the massive U.S. storm delivering heavy snow & #blizzard conditions from the Dakotas to NW Wisconsin along with high winds, blowing dust, & critical fire weather concerns for the Southern Plains. More #GOES16 bands at https://t.co/EZ7FKMsfH8 pic.twitter.com/sY5CoCcc9s
— UW-Madison CIMSS (@UWCIMSS) April 11, 2019
[h/t The Washington Post]