Thousands of large snowballs appeared on a beach in Nyda, Russia, in a rare phenomena that many U.S. meteorologists believe is a sign of an extra snowy winter throughout the United States. The mysterious snowballs reportedly appeared back in October with Russian officials noting they are the result of a rise in the level of the Gulf of Ob which turned the shore to ice. As the water receded, the ice balls were rolled about by the water creating the large snowballs that remain today.
Mashable reports that thousands of these unusual sea-created snowballs have been photographed all along the Siberian coast near Nyda, Russia. Some of the snowballs reached the size of basketballs with thousands of other smaller snowballs covering the beach.
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) November 4, 2016
Local residents tell the Siberian Times that the snowballs look as though someone spilled them across the beach. Local resident Ekaterina Chernykh notes that the snowballs range in size from basketball to tennis ball. She also notes that this is not typical of the region and is the first time she has seen something like this in Nyda.
“We have them only in one place. It’s as if someone spilled them. They are all of different sizes, from tennis balls to volleyball. We all were very surprised. Many people believed it only when saw with they own eyes. This has not happened previously. And there was not so much snow for them to form. It’s so interesting.”
Valery Akulov from the village administration backed up Chernykh’s claims noting that “even old timers” say they have never seen anything like this in the town.
“Even old-timers say they see this phenomenon for the first time. These balls appeared about a week and a half ago.”
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) says that the rare phenomena may not be common but it is natural.
“It is a rare natural phenomenon. As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature, may lead to the formation of such balls.”
It was reported that the snowballs first occurred back in October and were quickly followed by a near record cold time for Siberia. Additionally, snow cover is at one of the highest levels this time of year since 1998.
“Siberia is near record cold for this time of year, and snow cover is at around the highest level for this time of year since at least 1998.”
Simply WOW!! Rare phenomenon creates thousands of giant snowballs on Russian beach https://t.co/Ed9Mnxeepe
— Alex Hunter (@AlHunterRural) November 7, 2016
Though Siberian weather is not typically associated with forecasting in the United States, many meteorologists have indicated that the unusually high snow fall and cold temperatures in the Siberian region are good indicators of a harsh winter in the United States.
“Siberia’s abundant snow cover last month, and the faster advance of that snow cover, might be linked to a weaker winter polar vortex, which could cause more frequent incursions of cold air into North America and Western Europe.”
— Anita Fuentes (@OYEPBreakinNews) November 6, 2016
Similar large ice balls have been seen in the United States in the past. In 2013, icy balls weighing up to 50 pounds were discovered in Good Harbor Bay, Michigan. The unusual sight was created when sheets of ice broke off the lake and were tumbled into balls by the water.
[Featured Image via WSAV Chief Meteorologist/Facebook]