BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Scientists say a wind storm earlier this month covered a southwestern Idaho mountain range with dust from Oregon and Nevada and accelerated snowmelt due to the darker surface absorbing heat from the sun as opposed to being reflected by pristine white snow.

The Idaho Statesman reports that experts say the March 6 storm with winds averaging 34 mph and gusts up to 57 mph put a dust layer on the northern Owyhee Mountains. Hydrologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say observations in the region found accelerated melting from March 10 to March 16.

Snow surveyors with the Natural Resources Conservation Service say the dust reached as far east as the upper Mores Creek watershed near Idaho City in south-central Idaho.