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Cars and homes coated in dust swept in from Sahara

A BLANKET of dust that coated cars and homes across the capital over the weekend was sand swept from the Sahara Desert, according to Met Eireann.

The sand was washed down in the rain that fell during the night, leaving vehicles and properties covered in dirty residues.


Sand from the desert can make its way to our shores when strong air currents pick it up and blow it in a northerly direction.

"The most likely explanation is that it has come from an area like the Sahara," forecaster Harm Luijkx told the Herald.

"It gets carried high in the atmosphere and it can travel great distances before getting washed down with the rain.

"It is not so much sand as dust. When you put your wipers on or clean your windows, you will see it dissolves very quickly.

"Some people think it is strange that particles could travel that far, but ash from volcanoes and dust from deserts can be brought great distances in these air currents."

People in Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Louth reported the reddish-brown dirt on their cars and took to Twitter with photos and questions as to what had caused it.

But the simple answer was that the sand from North Africa was swept here as well as to Wales and some parts of southern England.

Met Eireann said that with the winds continuing in a similar direction over the coming days, even more dust could fall from the sky in showers.

"If you wash your car now, you might have to wash it again in another few days," said Mr Luijkx.