Sahara Sand Turns Snow Orange
6th February 2021
Last modified on May 5th, 2021
It’s been snowing sand in large parts of the Alps and Pyrenees. Check out the pictures from our readers and the ski resorts.
People out in the Alps have seen a few snowstorms recently.
Now they’re experiencing sandstorms.
These images have been posted by PlanetSKI reader, Phil Brown, who lives in the Aosta Valley in Italy.
Here’s St Anton in the Tirol.
“Today I went ski touring on Mars. There are no filters on these photos just a natural sepia filter courtesy of some Saharan sand blowing in the wind. Nature can be very strange sometimes,” said PlanetSKI reader, Kevin Young, who lives near Chamonix.
“A bit like doomsday here today…..it’s raining Sahara Sand,” said Shona Tate from the BASS ski school in Chamonix.
Val d’Isere has seen some sand too.
“A cloud of sahara sands swept through our mountains this morning creating that very unusual yellow hue. unretouched photo.”
And it is been falling in the Valais area of Switzerland.
“We often have to deal with these kinds of phenomena due to #Saharastof but I have not experienced it as bad as today! Even the glaciers turn yellow”
And here’s the scene in Leysin, in the Vaud canton in Switzerland.
And it’s been falling in the Pyrenees too.
Here’s Pas de la Casa in Andorra.
— Météo Pyrénées (@Meteo_Pyrenees) February 6, 2021
Traçat ❄️🤎 pic.twitter.com/sTTPXFgY5G
— Isa Aguiar (@isaandorra) February 6, 2021
The video above also shows Pas de la Casa, Andorra.
So, what is causing it?
Strong winds in Africa have taken sand into the sky, atmospheric air currents have taken it northwards and when it hits the mountain ranges of Europe down it comes.
The phenomenon is not that rare and happens quite a few times across the winter.
Some times it even gets as far as the UK, but has not done so – so far.
It is so common that the UK Meteorological Office has a primer on ‘Saharan Dust’ on its website.
“As in other parts of the world, the wind can blow strongly over deserts – whipping up dust and sand high into the sky….If the winds in the upper part of the atmosphere are blowing north, the dust can be carried as far as the UK,”said the UK Met Office,
But it is not often so widespread.