June 28, 2022

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The amazing fog covering Spain is just beginning

The amazing fog covering Spain is just beginning

No, it is not a filter. It is dust. Although we have been warning for days of the arrival of strong dust-laden winds, no one imagined that we would witness one of the most amazing and widespread fogs in recent years. The entire southeast has seen a wonderful orange sunset, and already this morning, much of the center of the plateau has blew the same color. What’s going on? How long will it last? Is it dangerous? Welcome to one of the great weather shows of the year.

What is fog? “Fog” is the name given to a meteorological phenomenon characterized by the presence of very small solid particles suspended in the atmosphere. They dissipate the air, reduce visibility and color the environment, although sometimes they color the sky spectacularly like these days. There are two types of fog: fog from forest fires, pollution, or other events of this type; And natural. One of these days is of the second type.

Although the desert is responsible for 70% of suspended dust From the world, in Spain we have a direct line with that mass of sand that sleeps in the heart of Africa. As we announced yesterdayIt is expected that strong easterly winds will blow during Monday and Tuesday of this week in areas in the eastern half of the peninsula. Those winds brought the “surprise”: the dust of African origin that has blanketed the entire southeast of the country since yesterday (and this day also affects Madrid and the center of the peninsula).

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How long will it last? According to expertsLooks like the orange sky scene has just begun. Although it will likely lose its intensity over time, the hanging dust is expected to continue advancing from south to north and reach its peak around dawn on Wednesday.

Is it dangerous? Can it affect health? As is logical, the abundance of dust in the suspension system worsens the air quality and can cause mild respiratory problems (irritation of the mucous membranes, stuffy nose, itchy eyes or dryness of the upper respiratory tract). In areas with heavy fog, complications can be even greater. Especially in people with pre-existing diseases.

Although with Storm Celia, the current fog should not last long enough to generate persistent or prolonged problems, you should be on the alert (and be careful when doing outdoor activities in highly affected areas). In the face of significant deterioration in air quality due to coarse particulate matter (PM10), the recommendations are to close windows and to wear and use a mask outdoors air purifiers indoors (if necessary).

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After the fog comes the mud. Since the peninsula is an environment especially given to this type of African dust wave, we know very well what’s next. It only takes those high winds to cross a good North Atlantic storm for cities to appear buried beneath a shallow layer of mud and sand. That is, only the weather scenario that we have now.

picture | Keith Williamson