Dagestan (a North-Caucasian federal republic on the western shore of the Caspian Sea) saw an unusual natural phenomenon, salt precipitation. It happened in the region for the first time, head of Dagestan's hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring centre Pyotr Postavik said on Thursday.
According to him, this happened in Dagestan's capital Makhachkala on Thursday morning. Cars standing in the open air were covered with a salt layer.
According to meteorologists, the precipitation was caused by a cyclone which came from Turkey and Iran.
On April 15-17, Dagestan's weather-forecasters registered sharp strengthening of south-eastern and eastern winds. Wind strength reached 15-20 metres per second in coastal areas of the republic and 24-28 metres per second in lowlands.
"Strong wind raised small parts of sand and dust from Dagestan's open-cast mines. They mixed with water dust raised from the Caspian Sea surface," Postavik said.
The mixture concentrated in the clouds moving to Dagestan's coastal areas which saw the unusual natural phenomenon. "Local residents associated the unusual salt precipitation with an ecological catastrophe which can be caused by the war in Iraq, and were much alarmed by this rare phenomenon," Postavik noted.
Dagestan's hydrometerological centre carried out the chemical and radiation analysis, which showed that the precipitation posed no threat to health and life of Dagestan's population, he added.