Sandstorms turn sky orange

‘Calima’ effect caused by strong winds bringing dust from North Africa

British astronaut Tim Peake snapped a shot of the heavy cloud of dust hanging over us from the Space Station

By David Jackson

A cloud of Saharan sand covered the province last weekend causing temperatures to rise sharply as a fog like effect turned the sky orange across Almería and Granada.

The effect is called the Calima in Spanish, and is caused when desert sand from North Africa is sucked up into the sky and transported by high altitude winds to the Peninsula, along with an increase in the ambient temperature.

Although such dust is present in our skies for more than 35% of the year, such a heavy cloud is an unusual phenomenon, especially so early in the year.

The rise in temperature was all the more pronounced after last week saw thermometers mark the coldest days of the winter.

Meteorologists said they expect the Calima to last for two weeks before it finally clears from the air, as no significant rainfall is expected. Locals were expecting to see ‘lluvia de barro’ (mud rain), or ‘red rain’ as it called by expats, when the rain brings so much dirt with it that mud literally falls from the skies, but it did not materialise.

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