Wednesday 20 February 2019

Cars coated as 'red dust' arrives from Sahara

Dust covering cars which was due to exceptionally strong winds over North Africa
Dust covering cars which was due to exceptionally strong winds over North Africa

Alan O'Keeffe

IRELAND'S car wash business may have gotten an unexpected boon thanks to 'red dust' landing from the Sahara Desert.

Motorists awoke to find a fine layer of reddish-brown dust coating the paintwork of vehicles yesterday that was believed to have come all the way from North Africa.

But drivers are advised not to rush for the suds just yet. The winds blowing from the south and south-east are expected to bring more dust in coming days.

Dust storms in North Africa are believed to be responsible for pushing large amounts of fine particles into the atmosphere.

"These fine particles are dust and soil rather than sand. Sand is too heavy to be carried this far by the wind," said Met Eireann forecaster Harm Luijkx.

He told the Irish Independent that Met Eireann had received calls about the phenomenon from around the country. "It is possible more dust will come," he said.

Africa's orange and red sunsets are often the result of dust in the atmosphere. Ireland's sunsets are usually quite clear as the winds normally come from across the Atlantic where there is no air pollution, he said.

Mr Luijkx said that sometimes, with winds from the east or south-east, Irish skies have some haziness because of air-borne pollution from Britain or the Continent.

When pressure is high, those particles of pollution can build up to increase the haziness, but high pressure is not an issue at present in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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