Saharan dust is bringing 'strange hue' and covering cars in dirt across Portsmouth and the south

If you live in and around Portsmouth you might have noticed your car has been covered in dust in recent days.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 10:06 am

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

But what has caused it’s sudden appearance?

Well the dirt is the result of a weather phenomenon known as Saharan Dust.

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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.

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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.

Dust coating a car

The phenomenon can also cause the sky to have a ‘strange hue’, according to the Met Office, which can lead to spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

The forecaster’s satellite images show Saharan Dust over the south of England, including Portsmouth.

As well as causing a ‘strange hue’ in the sky, the dust can also fall down to the ground and cover vehicles.

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!

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