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National Scientists, Weather Service Dig Into Mystery Of Milky Rain

National Weather Service - Spokane
Scientists are still trying to determine what was behind the 'milky rain' that fell on eastern Washington and Oregon last week.

Last Friday much of eastern Washington and Oregon was pelted with a dirty rain, but so far scientists do not agree on a cause.

The National Weather Service said the dirt may have come from southeast Oregon, near Summer Lake. But another government scientist says he thinks it was ash from a volcano in Japan.

Scientists say dust or muddy rain events aren’t really rare on earth. But this 200-mile event with gunk dropped from Spokane to Fossil, Oregon is unusual.

An atmospheric science group from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory here in Richland plans to test samples this week. They hope to pin down the origins of this milky rain that coated people’s cars and windows last Friday.

An early theory blamed the dirty rain on a dust storm in Nevada.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.