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France’s Saharan sand sky: Until when will the phenomenon last?

The skies over western France have turned orange due to desert particles picked up on the wind. It happens every year but the concentration of dust this time is unusual

The phenomenon of sand particles from the Sahara being swept over France by winds is called le sirocco in French Pic: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock, MOCAGE, Météo-France

The sky over large parts of western France will remain a deep orange colour until at least tomorrow (March 17), meteorological service Météo-France says. 

The effect is caused by particles of sand from the Sahara Desert being picked up on the wind and blown over the country. 

See photos of the coloured skies in our article from yesterday here: Saharan sand turns skies orange in southwest France.

The phenomenon was particularly visible over areas in the west of France yesterday, notably Bordeaux and La Rochelle, and will continue to move north today. 

The wind is expected to abate from Thursday, ending the episode. 

The event happens annually - but Météo-France says that this year the surface area involved and the concentration of dust particles is more unusual.

In French, this weather event is called le sirocco.

In 2021, there were several siroccos in February and March, including one episode that saw the Pyrenees covered in a light dusting of orange snow, prompting some to call the mountains the "Saharan Pyrenees".

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