(ORDO NEWS) — Mysterious white dust fell from the sky at night in Maryland and West Virginia, and conspiracy theories arose among worried locals.
Social media users reported seeing dust in two states on Feb. 23. The reports prompted an investigation to find out what it is.
“My friend in Maryland saw this morning a small plane spewing white powder. Something weird is going on,” wrote one person.
In response to reports like this, a TikTok user made a video asking if the white powder could be a “chemical attack”.
Local fire departments have demanded that people close their doors and stay out until environmentalists can examine the strange dust.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection identified the substance as pollen with trace minerals.
Social media users reported seeing dust in the air and on cars Friday in West Virginia, Northern Virginia and Maryland.
DC News Now meteorologist Damon Matson said, “This is likely dust from the desert southwest, a very strong storm system that causes all winter weather in the northern United States and severe weather in the southern United States.”
“She raised the dust at the tail of the storm and carried it across the country. Dust remained high in the atmosphere as the storm remained strong.”
The Maryland Department of the Environment said the dust likely came from New Mexico and Texas.
Residents of eastern West Virginia, about 100 miles west of Washington, D.C., reported seeing dust in several counties.
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Terry Fletcher said there was no reason to believe the substance was related to the Ohio train derailment, despite some theories.
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