The Sahara Desert covers much of Spain
A hot air mass from the Sahara Desert dumped dust over large parts of Spain, including Madrid on Tuesday, coloring the skies orange and blanketing cars and streets.
People used hoses to wash away dust in the center of the capital where a brown film covered the windows of apartment buildings.
The haze created by the warm air is carried across the Mediterranean Sea by powerful winds called “la calima”. The phenomenon is common in Spain, and especially in the Canary Islands, off Morocco.
But the latest episode was “extraordinary”, dramatically reducing visibility over swathes of the country, said Ruben del Campo, spokesman for the national weather agency AEMET.
Cities of Granada in the south, Madrid in the center and Leon in the northeast were affected.
The dust is expected to continue arriving in “large quantities” on Tuesday and Wednesday and later reach the Netherlands and Germany, the spokesman said.
Air quality in Madrid and the neighboring cities of Segovia and Avila was “extremely unfavorable”, according to local authorities.
Storms in the Sahara create gusty winds on the ground that kick sand and dust into the air, the weather bureau said in a video posted to Twitter.
The smaller particles are suspended in the air due to the temperature difference between the ground and the warm air above. The wind then blows the particles north.
A plume of dust from the Sahara has caused an increase in air pollution in Europe
© 2022 AFP
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