Ireland weather forecast: Expert explains unusual 'Saharan' phenomenon leaving cars 'destroyed'

By Colin Brennan

An Irish weather expert has explained the unusual 'Saharan' phenomenon leaving cars across Ireland covered with sand and dust.

A mixture of sand and dust from the Saharan desert has been hitting European shores including Ireland over the past few days.

Weather chiefs have explained the phenomenon which they say is not uncommon on Irish shores.

According to the Met Office: "As in other parts of the world, the wind can blow strongly over deserts - whipping up dust and sand high into the sky. If the winds in the upper part of the atmosphere are blowing north, the dust can be carried as far as the UK (and Ireland)

"Once it is lifted from the ground by strong winds, clouds of dust can reach very high altitudes and be transported worldwide, covering thousands of miles.

"In order for the dust to get from up in the sky down to the ground, you need something to wash it out of the sky - rain. As raindrops fall, they collect particles of dust on the way down.

A car covered in dust in Romsey, Hampshire after a spell of blood rain (PA)

"Then when the raindrops land on something and eventually evaporate, they leave behind a layer of dust.

"Saharan dust is relatively common in the UK (and Ireland) often happening several times a year when big dust storms in the Sahara coincide with southerly wind patterns. In certain weather situations, Saharan dust can also affect air pollution and pollution levels."

Expert Alan O'Reilly from Carlow Weather posted on Facebook: "The showers have brought the dust down, if you cleaned your windows or washed the car at the weekend you won’t be happy."

One Irishman Ciaran O'Brien added: Every year!! Tut tut, it's like the wasps coming out in August, we get the dust in September."

Another posted: "Windows and car destroyed today."

Sara Timmons said: "I literally was just giving out over the dirt of my car."

Meanwhile it is set to stay muggy and humid until the weekend with heavy and thundery showers on Thursday.

And after another week of unseasonably warm weather, the mercury is set to dip back to average for the weekend, with showers becoming lighter and more scattered.

A sandstorm in the Saharan desert in north Africa (Getty Images/Cultura RF)

Friday looks to be a bit better, with the worst of the rain expected to be over and lighter scattered showers expected.

Met Eireann said: “Scattered showers with occasional bright or sunny spells on Friday, showers will not be as heavy as those midweek.

“Highest temperatures of 16C to 21C, warmest in the east, with light northwest winds.

“Showers will become less widespread overnight with drier weather developing, becoming clear in places.

“Friday night will be cooler with lows of 9C to 13C.”

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