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Earth Science

Mystery Ash Clouds Rain In Parts of Washington, Oregon 77

Inland parts of Oregon and Washington, as well as Idaho, have experienced a strange, murky rain today that contains what seems to be volcanic ash, though ash from which volcano isn't completely clear. Experts said they are checking out several possible explanations including a recent volcanic eruption in Mexico and one in Russia. The weather service said the rainstorm may have passed through some dust or volcanic ash as it moved west. Walla Walla County's emergency management staff posted a statement on its Facebook page that the ash is likely from Volcano Shiveluch in Kamchatka Krai, Russia, some 3,000 miles away. Volcano Shiveluch spewed an ash plume about 22,000 feet high in late January, the statement said.... CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam, meanwhile, pointed to an eruption Wednesday of a volcano in southwestern Colima, Mexico, as another potential source of the dirty rain. That volcano is more than 2,000 miles away from the region. Time points out that other theories include leftover ash from last year’s wildfires in Oregon in Idaho.
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Mystery Ash Clouds Rain In Parts of Washington, Oregon

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  • NSA reactor waste (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's from the buried NSA facility in Yakima, They're blowing the pipes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seems like chemical analysis of the ash could solve this mystery pretty easily.

    • Re:Mystery? (Score:5, Funny)

      by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:49AM (#49009417)

      Seems like chemical analysis of the ash could solve this mystery pretty easily.

      Anyone that watches TV knows they just need to put some it into the analyzer and they'll have the source of the ash in minutes. I don't understand why don't they just do that?

      • Unfortunately scientists cannot afford the instruments used by Hollywood rich people :-(
      • Obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com].

  • Potheads (Score:5, Funny)

    by storkus ( 179708 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @01:20AM (#49009225)

    Oh, come on, Oregon and Washington LEGALIZED IT, it's just some pot festival sent too much smoke and ash up from western WA/OR. A quick THC test should tell you all you need to know.

    • Mayhaps Sasquatch wanted to join in on the fun, but didn't quite grasp the concept of pot, so they just grabbed all the leaves and shrubbery they could find and puff puff'd up a storm.
      • hah. eastern oregon and wash are about as red and conservative as you'll find in the US. They are closer to Texas (sans austin) politically than anywhere else.
        (Source: grew up in Milton-Freewater, just south of Walla Walla)

        • Re:Potheads (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:49AM (#49009419)

          hah. eastern oregon and wash are about as red and conservative as you'll find in the US.

          And red-state conservatives don't smoke pot?

          • Re:Potheads (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @04:24AM (#49009557)
            Sure they do. They want "officer discretion" so when little Georgie (Bush) does coke, he'll be let off with an unofficial warning that doesn't touch his permanent record, but little Nigger has a dime bag of pot, and he gets 10 years in jail, or pleads guilty to felony distribution for a $100 fine and time served. The punishment doesn't sound like much, except never getting to vote again, or own a firearm.

            That's how the red states roll. Neo-Apartheid. I was born white in one, and had plenty of friends of various ethnic backgrounds. The big lie is that it doesn't happen, mainly told by people who have seen it happen, but refuse to believe it because it would make them "evil" to endorse and condone it.
            • by NetNed ( 955141 )
              White guilt is "insightful" on a story about ash clouds??? WTF happened to slashdot???
              • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
                Ah yes, truthfully exposing actual current racism is "white guilt" and should be dismissed and ignored.

                Not sure how it hit 5 inciteful, but it's a on-topic response to the previous comment, which was about drug use in conservative states.

                Is your comment any more on-topic on a post about ash? No? Then that makes you a hypocrite. And dismissing the race situation pegs you as a conservative (and yes, a libertarian is a "conservative" by the US definitions, and a "neo-liberal" by international definition
        • Luckily there are recreational marijuana shops in eastern Wa, and some wildernesses where you can smoke pot out in the open for days without encountering humans. Screw the political retards; this land was made for you and me.

        • Muddy Frogwater

    • Funny post. The replies, on the other hand, really flew off on a tangent.

      sr

      "There are some people who, if they don't already know, you can't tell 'em."
      Yogi Berra

  • It's just raining, like it usually does with normal wet drop of water. No sign of gunk on my windscreen.

    • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:34AM (#49009387) Homepage

      It only hit Hermiston. Mostly it was farther north.

      Having already seen the media reports hours ago, it is already known that it is from Siberia, on the Pacific coast. This is where most of the rain in the NW comes from.

      People speculating Mexico or Guatamala are simply new to the meteorology of the region. To local sources a glance at a recent eruption map makes and it is instantly obvious there is 1 known candidate, and it would explain it perfectly.

      ("Just rain" in my part of Oregon, too)

      • by SgtAaron ( 181674 ) <aaron@coinet.com> on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:54AM (#49009737)

        People speculating Mexico or Guatamala are simply new to the meteorology of the region. To local sources a glance at a recent eruption map makes and it is instantly obvious there is 1 known candidate, and it would explain it perfectly.

        ("Just rain" in my part of Oregon, too)

        Same here in Bend. It's been pretty windy, trees falling. Nowhere like the rain west of the mountains of course. But there were fires all around last summer. No dirty rain falling here. Hell, at 50+ degrees it's almost been like a spring rain. So sorry for our mountain snow pack, however.

        Siberia though, makes more sense. The jet stream seems to be pushing a lot of air our way. Not just dirty Beijing air, either, it seems. Or is it... ? :)

        I grew up in Spokane and was there when St. Helens erupted. That was ash fall.

        • I was in Ellensburg for St. Helens, it was dark for 3 days. The government said to wait for test results before going outside, in case of deadly gas, but we just waited until we saw birds taking dust baths. My family moved south about the time the roads were clear.

  • Leftover Ash? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hedgemage ( 934558 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:18AM (#49009347)
    Uh, the Northwest is a big place and the air is anything but stagnant. We entered the wet season a couple of months ago, so the chances of the particulates being locally originated is laughable since everything has been pretty moist for weeks. The Time article cites no sources about "ash leftover from last year's fires" so I'm going to assume that someone was either pulling something completely out of context or out of their anal cavity or both.
    • You nailed it. How can last years wildfires produce volcanic ash? Definitely sounds like a pulled-from-ass level of comment. Fine ash blown west from a Russian eruption is more logical.
    • Presumably they found that on the comments page.

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @02:47AM (#49009409)
    It's either time-traveling ashes or an alien spaceship that burned up in our atmosphere. Come on, I figured that out in seconds.
  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @04:56AM (#49009641) Homepage

    Some of the sheeple I monitor on FB figured out that "they" are spreading thought control gas using airplane fuel. At the last meeting of the Illuminati board I asked if we could contaminate fuel supplies worldwide why weren't we doing that with regular car fuel instead... would reach more people rather than just those under flight paths. Then one of the guys came up with the idea of adding the thought control formula to erupting volcanoes so that it's harder to trace it to us. I still think it's a bit inefficient and too 007-super-villain way of doing things but the higher ups always know best. oh well. Back to fudging the lottery numbers for next weekend I guess.

  • It rain most of the day here in Washington next to the Oregon border, only dog would of noticed; and he didn't seem concerned.

    • It rain most of the day here in Washington next to the Oregon border, only dog would of noticed; and he didn't seem concerned.

      Update: this morning I went outside and everything was covered with dirt subtle in some areas, I started to think about this article so checked out my white truck, it's covered in dirt. Ya we got something dumped on us.

      • It rain most of the day here in Washington next to the Oregon border, only dog would of noticed; and he didn't seem concerned.

        I started to think about this article so checked out my white truck, it's covered in dirt. Ya we got something dumped on us.

        Dirt is misleading it's of a blackish nature on a white surface, I took a magnetic to it but inconclusive.

        • Yeah, I was wondering about it maybe being magnetic because of the weird AM band disturbances...I even got some small spikes on my SDR way down into the ELF band where there isn't ever anything. The K garlicy smell was wild, too.

      • Where are you located? Sounds like we might be neighbors.

        • Where are you located? Sounds like we might be neighbors.

          Tri-Cities.

          • Where are you located? Sounds like we might be neighbors.

            Tri-Cities.

            I said that off the cuff, I sent another reply that didn't seem to make it:
            60 miles away from you and it was 63 degrees yesterday while the norm has been 40-50.

  • Ground Zero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Guy From V ( 1453391 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @09:04AM (#49010101) Homepage

    I'm right here in Walla Walla County and I can say that I noticed odd things beginning the night before last following one of the warmest chinooks I can remember in my life, it reached 72 F outside my house after being in the low 30s under 12 hours before. Within hours after that began, odd AM radio reception disturbances that came and went in waves from total static to unbelievably good and seemingly overpowered sometimes within seconds and other times over maybe 15 minutes started. I noticed an odd metallic aftertaste when I woke up the next morning (unlike blood or iron), all of these things happened before I even knew any of this was going on. I do a little playing around with software defined radio and radio telescopy/aircraft communication apps and I saw readings that lit up whole areas very high up nor could I receive any plane comms which was pretty unusual.

    The volcanic ash story seems pretty specious to me, I'm more inclined to believe the TIME hypothesis of wildfire ash because the chinook was very abrupt and warm, I can grasp how an odd temperature inversion in such a short amount of time along with high speed winds might pick up heavier ash particles that wouldn't normally travel, lift them up very high, then drop them over my area. Volcanic ash doesn't travel large distances and drop suddenly in a small area all at once. Even if it did, I would think that there would have been much, much more present. This stuff in the rain was also not at pulverized as volcanic ash, I still have a vial of Mt. St. Helens' ash my parents gathered nearby from when I was really young. This stuff was also a good deal darker. I can say that it does not smell like soot, it has a faint metallic/garlic one but it doesn't permeate the area like I'd think it would. Just wanted to give a "man-on-the-ground" report for my fellow /.ers.

    • I noticed an odd metallic aftertaste when I woke up the next morning (unlike blood or iron), all of these things happened before I even knew any of this was going on.

      The manual specifically states your not supposed to sleep with the tin foil hat. This is what happens. Now you are all contaminated.

    • Metallic/garlic taste would tend to indicate some sort of Sulphur/Selenium compounds in whatever you were tasting. I could see that coming from volcanic ash.

  • http://news.yahoo.com/pineappl... [yahoo.com]
    Are there volcanoes in Hawaii? (And, do bears sleep in the woods?)
  • No this isn't "weather", this is large scale transport of particles in the atmosphere. And that is kind of critical to understanding climate (and weather).
    Which simply tells you that the models, while possibly precise, are not accurate.
    And when you are talking about sweeping changes in government policy or, more frighteningly, attempts at geo-engineering, then your models should be very accurate.
    Or come with a warning and a statement of margin of error.

  • It's probably industrial pollution from China

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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