Eastern Europe Covered in Orange Snow Is the Strangest Sight of Spring 2018 so Far (Video)
Spring skiing in Europe typically means hitting the slopes with warmer temperatures and bluebird skies. But, over the weekend, those barrelling down the mountains in Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Romania were met with an even more rare and delightful sight: orange snow.
While the sight of burnt-orange snow is certainly odd, it’s not something to fear as it all comes down to a strange natural phenomenon that brought two of the world’s weather systems together.
According to the BBC, the orange snow is actually a result of sand from the Sahara desert mixing with snow and rain above Eastern Europe. The sand/snow mixing occurs once every five years or so, according to the BBC, though this particular event included far more sand particles than previous orange snow events.
In fact, the Sahara storm was so big that it could even be seen from space as it made its way through Greece and into Russia. The Athens Observatory noted on Friday that it was one of the largest “transfers of desert sand to Greece from the Sahara ever,” according to CNN.
“Looking at satellite imagery from [NASA], it shows a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean,” Steven Keates, a meteorologist with the United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, known as the Met Office, told the Independent. “When it rains or snows, it drags down whatever is up there, if there is sand in the atmosphere.”
Though the snow itself can’t harm the skiers and snowboarders, the low visibility it caused could. So if you find yourself out skiing today in Eastern Europe, know two things: No, you weren’t magically transported to the surface of Mars, and you better look out for other skiers in front of you.