Saturday, February 28, 2015
Update Mystery Ash/Rain
From our paper -
"There may still be debate on the origins of the “milky rain” that fell on the Tri-Cities Feb. 6, but the Benton Clean Air Agency now knows what was in it.
A sample sent for testing included sodium, silicon and trace amounts of aluminum, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese. There also was a trace of organic carbon.
“Nothing in the sample suggests that a public health risk existed during or after the event,” the agency said.
A leading theory, put forth by a Washington State University meteorologist, is that hurricane-force winds whipped across the Summer Lake region in south-central Oregon, picking up dry, light-colored sands and soils that were carried by strong winds to the north. The ancient lake has alkali beds.
The dust plume blew over the Tri-Cities, where rain deposited milky drops on cars and houses.
However, WSU meteorologist Nic Loyd said interpreting the sample results to tie them to a particular place was out of his area of expertise.
Other possibilities raised by different agencies included that the milky rain came from ash from a distant volcanic eruption, from dust storms in the Middle East or from a large storm that hit northwest Nevada."