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Saharan dust coats cars in Cambridge



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Saharan dust is coating cars in Cambridge after falling with the rain.

A dust cloud, which was seen turning skies above Portugal, Germany and Spain a rusty orange colour, has moved across parts of England today.

Saharan dust coats a car in Cambridge on March 16, 2022 (55507558)
Saharan dust coats a car in Cambridge on March 16, 2022 (55507558)

One Cambridge resident, who sent these images of his car, said: “Around 1pm it began raining and almost immediately there was a sort of muddy brown sleet which caked up the windscreen wipers.”

Saharan dust coats a car in Cambridge on March 16, 2022 (55507556)
Saharan dust coats a car in Cambridge on March 16, 2022 (55507556)

Saharan dust is seen relatively frequently in the UK, sometimes arriving several times a year as huge dust and sand storms in the Sahara coincide with particular wind patterns, which carry the particles thousands of miles across countries.

Overcast conditions mean it has been mostly grey in England, but this image from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, shows the effect of the dust cloud.

Saharan dust turns the sky orange above King's Road, Bury St Edmunds
Saharan dust turns the sky orange above King's Road, Bury St Edmunds

If it falls in sufficient quantities, the dust can affect air quality levels, and in some parts of Europe people have been wearing face masks to counter the gritty feeling in the air.

Higher temperatures on the continent have also played their part in the Saharan dust reducing visibility in some European towns and cities.

But it is not expected to cause the same issues here.

Richard Miles, of the Met Office, said on Wednesday: “There are no air quality warnings.

“People in the south might find a bit of dust left on their cars as the rain washes it out of the skies today.”

The Met Office added: “While this dust is mostly about 2km above ground level some deposits of dust may fall to the ground especially during any rain in southern parts of the UK over the next 24 hours.”

Strong winds combined with the dust prompted officials to advise residents in the Spanish capital, Madrid, to stay indoors on Tuesday morning.

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