Published On: Fri, Feb 16th, 2024

‘Blood rain’ sweeps over Spanish tourist hotspot as air fills with Saharan dust | World | News

A famous Spanish city is likely to be swept by “blood rain” with authorities urging individuals with respiratory problems to stay indoors, particularly those who are vulnerable.

Calima, also referred to as “blood rain” is a weather phenomenon that covers the atmosphere and at ground level with suspended dust. It will head to Spain as a result of sand particles from North Africa and the Sahara desert.

The storm system will leave mud storms in some parts of the country. The State Meteorological Agency (Aemet) has warned of the arrival of a “tongue of suspended dust” to the Iberian Peninsula. 

Almost a year ago, this meteorological phenomenon dyed the sky an orangey colour for several days and today we could experience something similar in some parts of the country.

From Thursday onwards, rain is expected in many regions of Spain due to the arrival of a storm system from the south, which this cloud of Saharan dust will accompany.

The dust began to head to Spain on Thursday morning thanks to the southerly wind and, throughout the day, the dust in suspension will advance and cross the peninsula towards the east. 

Mud showers, also known as blood rain, are expected to affect most of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands.

‌This situation may cause the air quality to be unfavourable in the areas most affected by this meteorological phenomenon.

The accumulation of these particles in the respiratory system can cause health problems in some cases, it is believed. 

Calima is produced when the air is flooded with very small solid particles in suspension, usually containing dust, sand, ash or clay. 

This presence usually clouds the atmosphere, giving it a yellowish and orange colouring and making it difficult to see and, above all, to breathe. 

Prolonged exposure to this meteorological phenomenon can be harmful to health, as it favours dryness of the respiratory tract.

The merging of this phenomenon with the passage of an expected rainstorm can cause mud or blood showers, so called because of the reddish colour of these particles mixed with water. 

These showers occur when water carries mineral dust that ends up settling on the ground or other surfaces, giving the impression that they have been splashed with mud.

Although Calima is not toxic in itself, the accumulation of these particles in the respiratory system can have harmful consequences for our health, caused by inhaling poor quality air. This dust can cause dryness in the airways and even aggravate the problems of patients with allergies, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or any other type of respiratory disease.

‌Depending on the type of particles in the air – pollution, ash, sand, dust, etc. – they may be more or less dangerous. In this case, for example, particles from the Sahara can favour the concentration of pollutants in the lower layers of the atmosphere.

Common symptoms of exposure include itchy eyes, conjunctivitis, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, asthma, chest discomfort, dyspnoea (shortness of breath), pneumonia, and allergic rhinitis.

‌In any case, if we want to avoid health problems related to Calima, we must follow a series of measures. In these cases, the authorities recommend always closing doors and windows at home and avoiding going outside if you suffer from chronic respiratory diseases and, if necessary, do it wearing a mask.

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