A new cloud of Saharan sand is to settle over France from today (April 27), with the effects felt from the southwest to Brittany.
The dust-filled wind has already arrived over the country several times in the past few weeks.
This new cloud will again include the “passing of desert particles” and “some deposits on the ground”, especially in the south west, said forecaster Météo France, via its modelling tool MOCAGE.
The cloud arrived at 10:00 this morning, and is now set to spread across the country, reaching Brittany by the end of the day.
The sand is expected to fall quickly, with rain forecast in the Garonne valley, as well as in the Pyrenees and the southwest area from this afternoon. The rain will likely contain the sand, and could cause muddy deposits.
The phenomenon is an annual occurrence but has been especially noticeable since the start of 2021. In February of that year, skies in France turned orange and red in many areas. There were also some less intense episodes in March and April.
The clouds occur when hot wind from the Sahara desert gathers sand particles and is pushed towards Europe. It is known as ‘sirocco’ in France, and ‘calima’ in Spain, where it also happens fairly frequently.
Despite the deposits left from the ‘sand rain’, the consensus is that the phenomenon does not cause any long-term health problems, although it can have a short-term negative impact on air quality.
However, some studies in March last year showed that the particles can cause respiratory issues, and transport viruses and pollution as they travel.
In mid-March, Météo France said that it “monitors the associated air quality impact” during the phenomena.