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Thursday ‘dirt rain’ probably not from Icelandic volcano

Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

Spring rains are typically refreshing, but Thursday morning’s moisture was mixed with dirt, depositing a dustlike film is some areas.

And while some might suspect the volcano in Iceland as the messy culprit, experts say that was unlikely.

“We can’t prove or disprove it, but it’s more than likely not the volcano,” said Frank Benton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.



Strong windstorms out of the Southwest likely kicked up dust as they roared across deserts in Arizona and southwestern Colorado on Wednesday, sending particulates into the jet stream, which were then washed from the sky as rain fell overnight and Thursday morning, Benton said.

“It’s high winds across the desert and jet streams,” Benton said. “Then the rain came and dumped it to the ground.”



A chance of rain, mixing with snow at times, remains in the forecast for Denver through the weekend.

Snow fell briefly in parts of Denver on Thursday about 8 a.m., but it melted when it hit the ground.

A 10 percent chance of rain in Denver today increases to a 30 percent chance Saturday and Sunday, the Weather Service said.



The high temperature in Denver should be in the lower 50s today, Saturday and Sunday.

The extra precipitation could be a problem for people who use the bike path along Cherry Creek, the city of Denver warned. The rain and a release of water from Cherry Creek Dam have raised water levels in the creek.

By late Thursday afternoon, the Weather Service reported 4- to 7-inch snow accumulations across the north-central mountains, with Grand Lake reporting 7 inches of new snow.

Scattered snow flurries were expected to continue on and off Thursday night and into today.

“This storm is very unsettled and scattered. It’s very springlike,” said Kyle Fredin, a meteorologist with the Weather Service.

Drivers in the northern and central mountains should be prepared for wintry conditions.


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