Tags: milky | rain | mystery | solved

Milky Rain Mystery Solved! Wind Blew Sediment From Lake

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015 08:35 AM

The mysterious milky rain that fell over parts of the Pacific Northwest in February was produced by sediment from a shallow saline lake in south-central Oregon, according to scientists from Washington State University researching the phenomena.

The milky rain stumped meteorologists after light-colored particles carried by rain and wind blanketed parts of the region on Feb. 6.

 


Researchers discovered a severe dust storm likely kicked up sand and soil at Summer Lake, a remote body of water in Oregon, sending its sediment north via strong winds and which was then forced down in rain over Washington, Oregon and Idaho, according to a Washington State University release.

"A lot of sodium was in that milky rain," said Washington State hydrochemist Kent Keller. "The chemistry is consistent with a saline source from a dry lake bed."

Scientists said wind trajectories dismissed two early theories that the murky rain came from reported volcanic activity in Russia or Mexico, said WSU meteorologist Nic Loyd.

"The strongest upper level winds didn't reach this region on a direct line from Russia or Mexico," said Loyd. "Instead, the air flow was locally from the south."

KREM-TV said the National Weather Service identified the light gray, dirty rain falling on more than 15 cities over three states back in February as a rainstorm moved across the northwest, sending meteorologists scrambling for an explanation.


National Weather Service forecaster Greg Koch told ABC News the milky rain incident happening in February made it even more unusual, adding he believed it was caused by "a strong wind event in northwest Nevada Thursday night, which continued into Friday, and that caused a lot of blowing dust in the Reno area and points north and east of there."


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The mysterious milky rain that fell over parts of the Pacific Northwest in February was produced by sediment from a shallow saline lake in south-central Oregon, according to scientists from Washington State University researching the phenomena.
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2015-35-10
Wednesday, 10 Jun 2015 08:35 AM
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