Local Weather Experts Looking Into Dirty Rain Falling Around the - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Weather Experts Looking Into Dirty Rain Falling Around the Region

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Dirty rain falling around the region Dirty rain falling around the region
SUNDAY UPDATE: The Nation Weather Service in Spokane says they might have a new explanation for what caused this milky rain we saw in our area Friday. 

They are thinking a huge dust storm in North Western Nevada Thursday night into Friday could have caused this.

They say the Reno area felt wind gusts of  more than 60 miles per hour.

They say consistent and strong Southern winds could have pushed the dust far up into the sky that eventually made its way to us. For details, click here. 

NBCRightNow.com - People all over the area are still wondering what caused this unusual milky rain to come down on us Friday.

It covered an area of about 200 miles.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton was busy trying to figure out what caused cars to look dirty and where this milky ashy rain was coming from.

"It is deposited from the clouds. We did get some strong winds across the area some of it could have been lifted up into the clouds, that once it started to rain it fell as this ash milky white substance," Mary C. Wister, NWS Science and Operations Officer said. 

Wister also said the phone calls and Facebook questions at the National Weather Service in Pendleton Friday were non-stop.

Her latest guess is whatever this material is, it could be coming from South-Central Oregon.

"We're going to see about maybe some of the wildfires that did occur across Central Oregon last year and because the flow is from the south maybe it could be with the fires there." 

Earlier today Wister ruled out Mexican volcanic ash, she says the upper level flow is coming from Hawaii not Mexico, where there is currently an active volcano.

And after checking with the Cascade Volcano Observatory, she ruled that out too, they have not seen any volcanic activity.

"And as much dust as we have around here in the Tri-Cities it usually comes in sideways not from the top when the air is still, so obviously we were aware that something pretty unusual was going on," Robin Priddy, Benton Clean Air Agency said. 

She also said we are in the clear when it comes to air quality, it has been in the green all day.

So whatever it actually is, it is not a health concern.

"This is something I had not seen in my career," Wister said. 

The Benton Clean Air Agency is working on sending a sample of this rain to a lab, but results would not come back for a while. 

So for now all we know is this rain is not impacting air quality and experts guess it could be dust or wildfire ash picked up into the clouds from Central Oregon and dropped in our area. 

PREVIOUS - The National Weather Service is busy looking into where this milky rain from this morning came from. They have contacted the Cascade Volcano Observatory and they haven't had any reports of volcanic activity along the Cascades. 

There was a volcano eruption in Mexico but since upper level flow is coming from the Hawaii area, they don't think that's related. 

Pilots throughout the state also have not reported seeing ash plumbs. Next they're looking into this past summer's wildfires in Central Oregon. 

They say it's possible it's wildfire related but they are not certain. They say people from at least a 200 mile area have reported seeing this substance. 

The Benton Clean Air Agency says they have also been getting a lot of calls about our unusual rain this morning. 

They say though their monitors are showing good air quality in the green.

They have been in touch with other agencies and right now their best guess is this material is being picked up from Oregon where the winds are pretty strong today.


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We're getting a lot of questions about dirty rain falling Friday morning around the region. Here's what the National Weather Service Office in Pendleton is saying about it so far.   "Just a quick update: We are aware of the chalky residue being reported around the area, and are looking into it to see if we can provide an answer. At this time we do not know what it is but have reached out to a few other agencies to help. Thank you for your patience."

   NBC Right Now will be looking further into the dirty rain situation throughout the day Friday and will have updates on our website and Facebook page periodically, with a full wrap up on NBC Right Now Local News at 5:00.