Why Is This Small Town In Russia Getting Blue Snow?

Illustration for article titled Why Is This Small Town In Russia Getting Blue Snow?

Snow: It comes in all textures, consistencies, and shapes, but the color, at least, is remarkably consistent. But in Chelyabinsk, Russia, residents have been alarmed to see snow suddenly showing up in shades of baby blue. Just what's going on here?


Residents of Chelyabinsk (whose name you may remember from a couple years ago, when it was struck by a meteor) first began seeing the patches of the bright blue color in the past couple days, and were, understandably, alarmed at the change.

It turns out the explanation is much more innocuous (and festive!) than was originally feared. The New York Times explains that the culprit of the Easter egg shade of blue in the snow was, in fact, actual Easter eggs. A nearby factory happened to be manufacturing pastel egg dyes for the coming holiday:

"The bag with food coloring wasn't leakproof," Olga Gribova, a company spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. "While the package was being opened, it spilled and got into the ventilation system." The powder swirled in the air outside, and upon landing turned the snow a shade of baby blue.

The color deepened, Ms. Gribova said, as the temperature rose — above freezing in recent days in a city where it ranges from a low of 3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16 Celsius) to a high of about 19 (minus 7 Celsius) this time of year.

"It has been warm in Chelyabinsk, so the snow started to melt and the color turned very bright," she said.

Image: Chelyabinsk.



So tighter regulations are needed on industrial dye factories then.

But then Putin is probably very chummy with Russia's billionaire captains of industry, counting on their donations and support. That and his distracting, nationalist appeasing, bloody spectacle in the Ukraine.