Minnesotans expecting a fresh layer of white stuff following Thursday’s unseasonable blizzard instead found snow with a brown-orange tinge, just like the dusty expanse of West Texas.
It was no coincidence.
The major spring storm that delivered blizzard conditions from the Dakotas to Minnesota was so big and strong that it also hurled dirt from New Mexico and Texas into the atmosphere, where winds kept it aloft for more than 900 miles. It eventually fell back to the ground in Minnesota, where it mixed with snow upon descent.
Social media unofficially christened the mixture “snirt,” a combination of “snow” and “dirt.”
A satellite image taken Thursday shows the West Texas dust being blown northeast, the National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted.
Forecasters jokingly invited everyone to send dust complaints to their colleagues in the weather service’s office in Lubbock, Texas.
Some of the dust traced to the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Satellite and Information Service. This animation shows its path:
Minnesotans posted photos and videos of the tan snow, often jokingly jabbing at Texans.
Weather service personnel in La Crosse, Wisconsin, joined the scrum, too, poking fun at their colleagues in Amarillo, Texas.