‘Blood rain’ is causing cars in Portsmouth to be covered in dust

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PORTSMOUTH residents may have noticed a layer of red dust on their cars in recent days. 

The muck and dirt has been covering vehicles across the city. 

Dust coating a car

Dust coating a car

But what has caused the sudden appearance of red dust? 

If you’ve notice a mucky layer on your car, well you have a phenomenon called ‘Blood Rain’ to thank for that. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

What is Blood Rain? 

While it may have a rather terrifying name, which might invoke scenes from a horror movie, it is not as scary as it sounds. 

BBC weather says that developing showers could cause Saharan dust to be washed out of the skies and in turn cause a layer of red dust to land on your car. 

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What is Saharan Dust? 

It is a mix of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert that covers most of North Africa. 

When strong winds blow across the desert they can whip up dust and sand sending it high into the sky before carrying it from the upper part of the atmosphere and transport it in the direction it is blowing – which is sometimes towards the UK. 

Once it is lifted from the ground by strong winds, clouds of dust can reach very high altitudes and be transported worldwide, covering thousands of miles.

In order for the dust to get from up in the sky down to the ground, you need something to wash it out of the sky - rain.

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Heavy rain is being forecast to fall in Portsmouth today, according to the Met Office, so you may notice more dust on your vehicle. 

When the raindrops fall, they collect particles of dust on the way down. Then when the raindrops land on something and eventually evaporate, they leave behind a layer of dust.

Paul Hutcheon, Met Office forecaster, says: ‘We usually see this happen several times a year when big dust storms in the Sahara coincide with southerly winds to bring dust here.’

In certain weather situations, Saharan dust can also affect Air pollution and pollution levels.

Has your car or vehicle been covered by the dust? Let us know in the comments below!