A powerful storm system brought clouds of Sahara dust to parts of southern Europe on March 16th, leading to dramatic orange skies, very poor air quality and a layer of accumulating mud in Spain, Portugal and France.
Europeans woke up to eerie skies, from the grimy gray in Madrid to orange-hues in the Swiss Alps. While Spain is bearing the brunt of the storm, cleaning crews had extra work as far away as Paris, London and Belgrade to remove the film of dirt falling on cars and buildings.
Experts described the event as “extraordinary” for the amount of dust in the air, but noted that it had not broken any records. This type of event typically occurs once or twice a year, normally in February or March, when a low-pressure system over Algeria and Tunisia gathers up dust and carries it north to Europe.