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Maps show where Saharan dust cloud bringing 'blood rain' will affect UK

A dramatic satellite image shows a plume of dust moving from Africa into the Atlantic.

A Saharan dust cloud seen from Waterloo Bridge in London. It comes as parts of southern Spain have been blanketed following a thick plume which has turned skies orange, with satellite images clearly showing the dust over France. Picture date: Wednesday March 16, 2022.
The Saharan dust cloud effect in central London in March 2022. (Alamy)

If you were planning on washing your car this week, you might want to wait a bit longer, as a Saharan dust cloud is expected to affect parts of the UK.

A dramatic satellite image shows a plume of dust moving from Africa into the Atlantic. It is expected to reach Britain in the coming days, potentially producing colourful sunrises and sunsets.

The phenomenon has also been known to result in apocalyptic-looking skies with a yellowish hue, and rainfall mixed with red-coloured dust particles known as "blood rain", which leaves people's cars and windows caked in dirt.

As well as dust from the Sahara Desert, parts of the UK have also been issued with weather warnings by the Met Office this week. A large area of the North of England has a yellow weather warning for rain from midday Monday to 5am Tuesday, with forecasters warning of travel delays and potential flooding of homes.

On the north coast of Scotland, a yellow weather warning is in place for wind, with a "slight chance" of damage to buildings, power cuts and danger to life from large waves and flying debris, the Met Office says.

https://forecast.uoa.gr/en/forecast-maps/dust/north-atlantic
This map shows the expected total dust load - measuring dust building up on the surface - at 6pm Monday. (University of Athens)
Dust cover
This map shows the expected total dust load at 6am Tuesday. (University of Athens)
Dust cover https://forecast.uoa.gr/en/forecast-maps/dust/north-atlantic
The dust load over Britain is expected to have subsided by 6pm Tuesday. (University of Athens)

Yahoo breaks down what the weather will be like for each region of the UK.

Scotland


  • Monday and Tuesday

In the Borders, it will be cloudy on Monday evening with occasional rain, mainly in the east, but drier and clearer by the end of the night, with minimum temperatures of 0°C. As overnight mist clears as the region heads into Tuesday it will be a dry day with plenty of sunshine and maximum temperatures of 7°C.

In the Highlands, Monday will be largely dry and cold with some spells of sunshine, with maximum temperatures of 5°C. On Tuesday many places will have a dry and sunny day, with a few showers mainly in the west. Windy in the northwest later with southwesterly gales developing in the evening. Maximum temperature 7°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

In the Borders, it will be very windy on Wednesday with rain for a time later, and west or southwesterly gales. Mainly dry, breezy and mild on Thursday and Friday, with only patchy rain.

In the Highlands, Wednesday will be very windy with rain for a time and west our southwesterly gales. Conditions will be mild but windy on Thursday and Friday, with more rain across the west.

Northern Ireland


  • Monday and Tuesday

Monday will be dry for most of Northern Ireland, particularly across the western counties, with maximum temperatures of 7°C. After a frosty night with a minimum of -3°C, Tuesday is set to be dry with plenty of sunshine, and again temperatures of 7°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Very windy Wednesday with rain for a time later, west or southwesterly gales. Mainly dry, breezy and mild on Thursday and Friday, just a little patchy rain in the west.

North-West


  • Monday and Tuesday

Persistent rain through much of Monday, turning heavy at times, especially over the hills. Maximum temperatures of 11°C. Tuesday will get off to a cloudy start with some lingering rain, turning drier and brighter through the afternoon with sunny intervals and light winds. Temperatures close to average, with a maximum of 9°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Wet and windy on Wednesday with heavy rain sinking southwards. Often cloudy on Thursday and Friday with patchy rain and drizzle though winds easing. Temperatures near or slightly above average.

North-East


  • Monday and Tuesday

A cloudy and wet Monday, with rain persisting through the day for most areas – heavy at times – with conditions becoming breezy later. Feeling chilly with maximum temperatures of 6°C. Cloudy with drizzle at first on Tuesday in some areas, before dry, sunny and cool conditions in the northwest spread across the region. Maximum temperature 6°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Strong and gusty winds Wednesday, with occasionally heavy rain later. A bright start to Thursday, but with wind and rain arriving later, continuing into Friday. Rain mostly on western hills. Generally mild.

Midlands


  • Monday and Tuesday

Cloudy in the West Midlands on Monday night, with outbreaks of rain gradually easing through the early hours. Minimum temperature of 5°C. More cloud for most on Tuesday morning with a few spots of rain in places. Becoming dry by the afternoon with some sunshine and light winds. Temperatures closer to average, with a maximum of 9°C.

Mostly cloudy in the East Midlands on Monday evening with some isolated fog patches. Outbreaks of rain moving southeastwards to all parts, but easing overnight to become light and patchy. Minimum temperature 4°C. A cloudy and damp start to Tuesday with outbreaks of drizzle – slowly breaking from the northwest, becoming dry and bright later. Maximum temperatures of 9°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Turning windier on Wednesday in the West Midlands, with some rain by the evening. Often cloudy on Thursday and Friday with patchy drizzle and occasional brighter interludes. Becoming very mild and breezy at times.

Dry for much of Wednesday in the East Midlands, with occasionally heavy rain overnight. Mostly dry Thursday and Friday, but some rain likely over the Peak District. Strong and gusty winds at times. Becoming mild.

Wales


  • Monday and Tuesday

A rather wet Monday evening with some heavy rain over higher ground. Gradually turning drier by the early hours, but staying cloudy and damp with some drizzle for a few hours. Minimum temperature 2°C. A much brighter start to Tuesday as early cloud in eastern areas clears away. Temperatures a little above average, with a maximum of 9°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Patchy frost to start with on Wednesday, but turning very mild thereafter. Periods of rain, especially on Wednesday evening and Friday, though occasional brighter spells in places. Windy at times.

Sheerness, Kent, UK. 29th Jan, 2024. UK Weather: an overcast morning in Sheerness, Kent. Credit: James Bell/Alamy Live News
An overcast start to Monday in Sheerness, Kent (Alamy Live News)

London and South-East


  • Monday and Tuesday

A murky and mild Monday, with some brightness developing mainly in eastern parts of the region in the afternoon. Mostly dry, with some drizzle in western parts and breezy conditions along the coasts. Maximum temperature 13°C. Tuesday will get off to a cloudy and damp start with outbreaks of drizzle, but this will slowly break from the northwest, becoming dry and bright later for many. Likely remaining cloudy and damp in the southeast. Maximum temperature 10°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Dry for much of this period with some bright spells. Occasionally heavy rain moving through early on Thursday. Windy at times, but mild.

South-West


  • Monday and Tuesday

Staying cloudy on Monday evening with showery rain moving east across the region. This will be mostly light before gradually dying out through the early hours. Breezy at times, with minimum temperatures of 4°C. A much brighter day to come with sunny spells on Tuesday – most prolonged in western areas. Maximum temperature 10°C.

  • Wednesday to Friday

Patchy frost to start with on Wednesday, but turning very mild thereafter. Periods of rain, especially on Wednesday evening and Friday, though occasional brighter spells in places. Windy at times.