Those who live in the Eastern European mountains are no stranger to snow, but this weekend even they were baffled by what came down on them.
This weekend, across Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova, orange-tinted snow fell from the sky, resulting in an eerie landscape that looked more like something on Mars than Earth.
When sand from the Sahara Desert, on the northern coast of Africa, gets caught up in the atmosphere, it mixes with snow and rain before falling back down to earth. Usually, the concentration of sand isn’t even enough to notice, but this year it was abnormally high, resulting in the almost post-apocalyptic mountainside scenes.
People were even reporting being able to taste the sand, or that it was getting in their mouths as they skied. The sand-dust mixture was even visible from space, in a satellite image taken by NASA on Friday. The photo depicted a brown streak running through the clouds above Eastern Europe.
While the orange snow was an Eastern Europe exclusive, the sand from the Sahara caused problems elsewhere too. On the Greek island of Crete, the sand was so thick in the air that the entire island was trapped under a yellow-orange haze.