Greece was overtaken by orange skies on Tuesday, with the strange haze blamed on dust clouds blown from the Sahara Desert across the Mediterranean Sea.

The frightening hue made Athens and other parts of the country resemble a Mars-like atmosphere.


From the Associated Press:

Strong southerly winds carried the dust from the Sahara Desert, giving the atmosphere of the Greek capital a Martian-like filter in the last hours of daylight.

The skies are predicted to clear on Wednesday as winds shift and move the dust, with temperatures dipping. On Tuesday, the daily high in parts of the southern island of Crete topped 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), more than 20 degrees C higher than what was registered in much of northern Greece.

The strong southerly winds over the past few days have also fanned unseasonal early wildfires in the country’s south.

The fire service said Tuesday evening that a total 25 wildfires broke out across the country in the past 24 hours. Three people were arrested on the Aegean Sea resort island of Paros on suspicion of accidentally starting a scrub blaze on Monday, it added. No significant damage or injuries were reported, and the fire was quickly contained.


The Guardian reports:

Greece had already been struck by Sahara dust clouds in late March and early April which also smothered parts of Switzerland and southern France.

Authorities warned that the dust concentrations can reduce sunlight and visibility while increasing concentrations of fine pollution particles, posing risks for people with underlying health problems.

The Sahara releases 60 to 200m tonnes of mineral dust a year. While the largest particles come rapidly back down to earth, the smallest can travel thousands of kilometres, potentially reaching all of Europe.

The Greek weather service said the skies would begin to clear on Wednesday.

The Greek skies eerily resemble the day last year when New York City looked like the scene of an apocalyptic movie.

Canadian wildfires received the blame for NYC’s orange skies.


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