Some wild weather in Eastern Europe has created what looks like real-life Instagram filters outside: As in, people woke up to orange snow in parts of Russia this past weekend, and the pictures are pretty crazy.
The eerie-looking snow looks like something out of a movie about the end of the world. The BBC reported that the orange snow in Eastern Europe left many places “baffled,” including parts of Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova.
As strange as it looks, there is a legit explanation: The orange tint was caused by a sandstorm that blew across the Sahara Desert in North Africa. The sandstorm was so big that it could be seen through NASA satellite imagery as it moved through Greece and up to Russia. As it blew through Russia, the red dust mixed with snow and rain to create the orange hue we can see in photos and videos.
This phenomenon actually happens more often than you might think — about once every five years (though the concentrations of sand were higher than usual this time). On Friday, March 23rd, the Athens Observatory said that this was one of the largest transfers of desert sand from the Sahara ever.
While the orange snow certainly looked amazing, it was decidedly less-than-pleasant for those experiencing it first hand. The BBC reported that people were complaining of sand in their mouths, and CNN said that the red dust made visibility extremely tough on the slopes in Sochi.
Still, it’s definitely cool to look at through the comfort of an Instagram feed. Some even joked that they felt like they were “skiing on mars.”