Hot air from the Sahara Desert has left Madrid and much of Spain coated with red-orange dust, prompting the regional authorities to issue extremely bad air quality warnings for the capital, yesterday 15th March.
The government’s national air quality index listed Madrid and large parts of the country, particularly the Murcia to Alicante coastline as “extremely unfavourable” — its worst rating.
Madrileños awoke yesterday morning to find a layer of red-orange dust covering their terraces, streets and cars. The sky in the capital and other cities had a bright orange haze, with visibility reduced to four just kilometres and temperatures reaching an unseasonably warm 20 degrees.
AEMET, the State Meteorological Agency described the dust storm from the Sahara as “extraordinary and very intense,” while adding that it was unclear if it was the worst episode of its kind on record.
Spain’s weather service forecast that the dust will continue today and spread north across the border to France and beyond.
The health authorities have recommended that residents use face their Covid facemasks to protect them from the dust and avoid outdoor exercise.
The weather did however end the near drought conditions in much of the country with Madrid seeing heavy rain until tomorow.