A gigantic cloud of dust in the Middle East could spread across Europe next week and even head towards Kent, experts say. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Syria and Iraq are currently covered in a thick blanket of orange air.
The region has been hit by extreme weather conditions since mid-March. In March, sand-laden winds even reached west to the British coasts. A few weeks earlier it had also hit parts of Spain and France where the slopes of the Alps had been turned muddy brown by the storm. The Saharan dust cloud has created a “rain of blood” effect in London and has left the streets of the UK covered in dust.
Most Gulf states have already declared states of emergency in response to the recent storm. Muge Akpinar-Elci, dean of the University of Nevada’s school of public health, told the Guardian: “It’s very concerning. Dust storms don’t just affect one specific country or place in the world. and can have far-reaching consequences on a global scale.”
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According to the Accuweather weather service, the UK will experience level eight UV rays on the UV Index from Saturday June 18 – which is classed as ‘unhealthy’. It should last three days, until Monday, June 20.
It’s the same note London had when the ‘rain of blood’ hit the country last month – and could be a sign that the deadly dust clouds are heading our way. Syrian Health Ministry spokesman Seif al-Bard confirmed that three people had died of dust in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, and issued an ominous warning to the rest of the world, reports The Mirror.
He said: “The impact of dust storms crosses regional and continental borders, so it’s not someone else’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem.”
In May a spokesman for the Met Office said: ‘Every year on several occasions the UK will see rain falling with some amount of dust mixed in.’ This usually comes from the Sahara before mixing with the clouds and fall.
“However, the dust we see is usually yellow or brown and mixed in very low concentrations – so the rain would look the same as usual. The only difference would be that you might find a thin film of dust on your car or your windows after the water has evaporated.”