Saharan dust: snow and air turn yellow or orange

From northeast Spain via Lyon and the Côte d’Azur to Baden-Württemberg, the sky was bathed in a cloudy yellow light on Saturday. Because according to weather experts, the sand from the Sahara was on its way again. In Germany, according to a DWD spokesman, only Baden-Württemberg was affected.

“People from all over the world called. Some wanted to know if this is the end of the world, “said a spokesman. Dust and sand from the Sahara can occasionally penetrate as far as Germany if the weather permits. Fine sand from the Sahara desert is carried over the sea by the hot wind. Due to the fine sand that is everywhere in the air, visibility is very limited.

France, Orschwihr: The sky is colored orange due to a sirocco streamPhoto: Sebastien Bozon / dpa

A particularly dull light hung over the city of Lyon; in some regions the snow was colored yellow. In some places the sky was more pink. A wind from the south carried sand from the Sahara to France, the prefecture of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region explained about the weather phenomenon.

The Sahara dust also amazed millions of Spaniards in the east and northeast of the country. Already in the early morning a thin yellow-red layer covered sidewalks and streets, cars and balconies. The regions of Valencia, the Balearic Islands with the holiday island of Mallorca, Catalonia and Aragon were affected. In the Mediterranean cities of Alicante and Valencia, according to media reports, thousands of people took to the streets to take photos or to pick up some desert dust and carry them home.

The weather phenomenon is called “blood rain” because it is usually accompanied by precipitation. But this time it was (less often) dry dust. And a lot of it. The last time so much Saharan dust fell from the sky in Spain was in 2018, said weather expert Jorge Olcina of the newspaper “Información”.


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