“Rain of clay” hits Portugal

Portuguese skies turn orange until Thursday

Rain of clay photographed in Portugal this week

Various media sources report that since Monday afternoon this week, inhabitants of various regions of Europe have been able to observe a curious phenomenon known as the “Rain of clay” that has caused changes in the landscape of the skies, mainly in Portugal and Spain, in the Iberian Peninsula.

A cloud of dust from the Sahara, on the African continent, is moving to regions further north and, according to official bodies, it is an event with an intensity that has not happened for decades.

The forecast, according to the Portuguese Weather Institute, IPMA, is that the “Rain of clay” dust should persist at least until the end of the 17th, Thursday.

Already in the projections of AEMET, the State Meteorological Agency of Spain, the wave of dust should start to dissipate from Wednesday (16) with the arrival of humid air from the Mediterranean Sea, which can even cause heavy precipitation in the Mediterranean peninsular region of the country and the Balearic Islands.

Satellite image shows the location of the maximum dust concentration in the identified areas in very pronounced magenta, being more evident in the North and Center regions of the mainland, France and Algeria
Satellite image shows the location of the maximum dust concentration in the identified areas in very pronounced magenta, being more evident in the North and Center regions of the mainland, France and Algeria Ipma

On the Portuguese mainland Expresso reported yesterday that if you’ve been out this Tuesday, you’ve probably noticed that the day is unusually orange. At the origin is a climatic event called “rain of clay”.

The phenomenon, which had already been reported this Monday in Spain, has now spread to Portugal and should last until Thursday (the 17th). The Center and North will be the most affected areas, with the possibility of “dust deposition through precipitation”, mainly in the South.

In question are, according to IPMA, “suspended dust, coming from North Africa”. The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere also explains that this type of event, which can reach the “Mainland and the Madeira Archipelago a few times a year”, takes place after the “occurrence of storms”. “These storms give rise to strong winds that, when blowing over desert surfaces, lift the lightest particles from the ground. The dust/sands are then transported through the atmospheric circulation”.

In this case, Portugal is under the influence of storm Célia, which has already left seven districts under orange warning due to the sea wave and forced the cancellation of more than 40 flights this Tuesday in Madeira alone.

Vulnerable groups told to remain indoors throughout “Rain of clay”

As a result of the suspended dust, “there is a situation of poor air quality on the mainland, with greater expression in the North and Center regions” due to “increasing concentrations of inhalable particles of natural origin in the air”, warns the Directorate-General of Health .

“This pollutant (inhalable particles – PM10) has effects on human health, especially on the most sensitive population, children and the elderly, whose health care must be redoubled during the occurrence of these situations”, reads the statement.

Thanks to PaterA for the link

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

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