Orange snow as Sahara dust lands in Europe

Dust from the Sahara has spread over Europe, turning snow orange in colour or causing a haze.
Dust from the Sahara has spread over Europe, turning snow orange in colour or causing a haze.

Orange snow has fallen in parts of eastern Europe after a rare meeting of Siberia and the Sahara.

Meteorologists say the snow from Siberia collided with dust-filled wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.

The orange snow has been spotted on mountains in Russia's Sochi region, farther east in Georgia's Adzharia region and at Romania's Danube port of Galati.

Some skiers have posted photos on social media joking that they were on Mars, not a mountain.

Romanian meteorologist Mia Mirabela Stamate says a wind carrying sand particles from the Sahara met with a massive snowfall on Friday. She predicts that the orange-hued snow will move eastward.

Meanwhile swaths of Greece have been shrouded in haze as persistent southerly winds carried waves of dust from the African continent across the Mediterranean.

The dust cloud has reduced visibility in large parts of Greece, including in the capital Athens, and health authorities have urged those with breathing problems, the very young and the elderly to limit their time outdoors.

The southern island of Crete was particularly badly affected, with some parts reporting dust in the air 10 times normal levels.

Schools in some parts of Crete remained closed on Monday due to the dust, although conditions on the island were reported to have improved compared with the previous week.

Meteorologists said conditions are expected to improve from Monday evening in the capital and from Wednesday in southern Greece and Crete.

Australian Associated Press