Londoners have been shocked and confused after a massive dust bomb sent red rain falling from the sky. The Saharan dust cloud, which sits 2km above the ground, brought unusual weather conditions across Europe throughout the day.
A number of social media users have shared photos of their cars, homes and coats covered in mysterious red-orange droplets, ominously described by some as “raining blood”.
READ MORE: Sky over London turns a strange yellow color due to Sahara desert dust
The Met Office has released a report saying the bizarre weather is caused by dust from the Sahara Desert. The dust, which traveled from central Africa, was kicked up by a storm over Spain called Storm Celia.
A Londoner said: ‘My car is covered in orange dust and I had to turn on headlights – it’s so gray and miserable. Another added: “It’s called the rain of blood. Sahara desert dust storm. A Facebook user explained: “It happened a few years ago but it wasn’t orange, it was grey.”
“I also have a white car and was shocked to see it orange,” said one Facebook user. Another surprised Londoner added: “I wondered when I [went out] why my coat looked like it had gone through the mud!
Another wrote: “Did you see what muddy rain it was? I didn’t even notice until I went outside to throw the garbage and I couldn’t even recognize our car parked in front of us… Also now all the white furniture in the garden is now brown/orange… The car washes will be happy today.”
A Facebook user said: “I went out at lunchtime my coat started with rain spots on it and when they dried my coat was covered in dust spots and my car windshield was covered in dirty red dust.”
The UK isn’t the only country seeing the effects of the bizarre weather – parts of Spain have already been blanketed in dust and photos show skies turning orange in Kent and Sussex, where Residents were photographed wiping layers of orange dust from their cars.
The sand was pushed high into the atmosphere by desert storms and is currently wreaking havoc on Spain. However, the storm is unlikely to cause the same level of problems as on the Iberian Peninsula, where people have been urged to stay indoors.
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Forecasters say the impact is “unlikely” to be significant, with dust potentially most visible at sunset. Richard Miles, from the Met Office, told the PA news agency: “Storm Celia over Spain is indeed pulling a cloud of dust from the Sahara, which could potentially reach southern UK.
“However, we do not anticipate significant impacts – the most likely would be over cloudscapes around sunset, but as conditions are likely to be mostly overcast and humid for much of the day, it is unlikely That’s a lot. There are no air quality advisories. People in the south might find a little dust on their cars as the rain washes it from the sky today.
BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood warned: “Air quality was very poor today in parts of Spain, and it could well affect us on Wednesday in the south east and Spain. East Anglia.”
Dr Claire Ryder, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Reading, said yesterday (March 16) that people could expect to see surfaces become dusty, with air quality worse than usual .
She said: ‘A massive dust plume, currently over Spain and France, is on its way to the UK from North Africa. The plume is expected to reach southern England in the early hours of Wednesday, covering areas from Dorset to Suffolk, with southeastern counties, particularly Kent, being the worst affected.”
She added: ‘People are likely to see surfaces such as cars turn dusty and red, and the air quality may be slightly lower than normal due to dust particles in the air.
“Dust has been carried more than 1,500 miles towards the UK from Algeria and Morocco over the past two days, driven by strong winds from Storm Celia, named by the Spanish Meteorological Agency.
“Red skies and poor air quality have been observed from Algeria, across Spain, France and up to the Alps, where the snow has been tinged red, and even in Vienna.
“Winds associated with the storm have lifted dust particles into the atmosphere, to high altitudes of approximately 3-4 km, where they can then be transported continental-scale distances, causing impacts throughout Europe.
“We could see reduced solar power output and slightly lower surface temperatures as the dust reflects some of the sunlight back into space.”
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