The milky rain mystery surrounding the Pacific Northwest that’s been present since February has been solved.
The mysterious rain has left a filmy substance on cars, clothes, and everywhere else. According to Reuters, scientists from Washington State University announced on Tuesday what’s been the root cause for this.
The research team has declared that dust from the dry bed of a shallow lake about 480 miles from where the rain fell is the reason for the “unusual precipitation.”
A powdery residue was strewn across a 200-mile territory in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington earlier this year. The milky rain mystery confounded scientists, so they launched an investigation into this. At first, some scientists theorized that an erupting volcano from Japan was responsible for the powdery white substance. Other researchers pointed to wildfires and a dust storm that developed in Nevada. It was learned that all of those speculations were wrong when a Washington State University hydrochemist “teamed up with a meteorologist and two geologists at the school to test the chemical composition of rainwater samples and analyze February wind pattern data,” the report stated.
Brian Lamb operates the WSU Laboratory for Atmospheric Research. They determined that air was coming from the south before the milky rain began falling. Lamb said that “wind trajectory analyses didn’t add up.”
“At first, we suspected it was related to wind erosion of landscapes that had previously burned, but the wind trajectory analyses didn’t add up.”
Sodium levels from water samples taken gave researchers other information to work with. WSU hydrochemist Kent Keller said in a statement made on Tuesday that “the chemistry is consistent with a saline source from a dry lake bed.”
Keller studied different samples taken from Kennewick, Washington.
The study was then narrowed down to Oregon’s Summer Lake — a shallow lake known to dry up during droughts. Winds reaching 60 miles per hour blew across Summer Lake the night before the milky rain fell.
“That would have been powerful enough to lift a good-size dust plume,” said Nic Loyd, a meteorologist at WSU.
Other research confirmed Summer Lake to be where the rain came from.
KOMO News reports that the rain affected various portions of the Northwest that included 15 cities that ranged from Hermiston, Oregon, to Spokane, and northern Idaho.
For months, the milky rain mystery has baffled scientists, as the Inquisitr has written on different reports leading up to the final conclusion that researchers arrived with.
[Photo Credit: National Weather Service via KOMO News]