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Sahara sand lands in Finland

The phenomenon was seen in southern as well as western parts of the country.

A heart sketched in sand-dusted snow which arrived to some parts of Finland on Tuesday. Image: Marjo Aspegren

The snow covered landscape in the southern town of Orivesi received a dusting of beige-coloured snow brought to Finland on Tuesday by sandstorms far away in the Sahara desert.

Photos of the phenomenon shared by local resident Marjo Aspegren clearly showed brownish-tinted covering on the heaps of snow in her yard.

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The sand, stirred up by sandstorms in the sub-Saharan desert region, was brought to the Nordic country in air currents in the upper atmosphere, according to on-duty meteorologist Anniina Valtonen from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

"Sand from the Sahara has spread to a small part of Finland, mainly in the south," she said, noting that the phenomenon was very localised and will only be visible in a few areas.

The meteorologist said that individual sand crystals are nestled at the centre of water droplets that can cause "sandy rain" elsewhere after being carried by currents high in the atmosphere.

"Usually, the sand causes sunrises and sunsets to appear more colourful than usual," Valtonen said.

The sand can sometimes have a negative effect on local air quality, but due to Tuesday's precipitation, such effects are likely to be minor, she explained.

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Beige-coloured snow was seen in Finland on Tuesday, caused by sand carried by air currents all the way from the Sahara desert. Image: Lukijan kuva

Other sightings of beige-coloured snow were also made in western areas of the country, including the municipalities of Karvia and Seinäjoki.

Seinäjoki resident Eeva Asu said she noticed it while shoveling snow on Tuesday morning.

"I immediately knew this was the sand from the Sahara. As soon as I shoveled some away, there was really bright snow just beneath the surface," Asu explained.