The Saharan dust that has turned the skies over Portugal, Germany and Spain a rusty orange color has arrived in Kent.
The Met Office warned dust was being carried north across France according to satellite images and some deposits could fall to the ground in the south of the country.
People have reported dust all over the county – from Medway to Dover.
A photo was tweeted of Samphire Hoe where specks of dust had appeared. The account read: “Saharan dust falling at Samphire Hoe, this explains the strange sunlight this morning, it was filtered through the desert dust.”
While residents of Medway described finding “dusty rain” on their cars, others described their gardens as “an old sepia film”.
Residents of Folkestone and Margate also reported orange skies today.
Saharan dust is relatively common in the UK, often arriving several times a year when large dust and sandstorms in the Sahara coincide with particular winds that carry the particles thousands of miles across the country.
In certain weather situations, forecasters say, Saharan dust can also affect air pollution and air quality levels if it falls in sufficient quantities.
But for dust to reach the ground you need something to wash it off the sky – rain – and so forecasters say it’s more likely to be noticed in places in southern England where it there is potential for precipitation, especially today (Wednesday).
Counties including Kent, Suffolk, Sussex, Hertfordshire and Essex are among the places that may have noticed a change in the color of the sky or a residue of dust coating exterior surfaces.
Along with a usual orange or pink glow in the sky above, people may have noticed dust from the sandstorm, especially on their cars and windows, as rusty red particles are more likely to appear on shiny surfaces.
The Met Office explained: “While this dust is mostly around 2km above ground level, some dust deposits may fall to the ground, particularly during any rain in the southern UK during the next 24 hours.”
While the sandstorm in Europe has been intense – with residents of Madrid, Spain told by authorities to stay indoors on Tuesday morning – the situation there has been made worse by strong winds that are not expected to cause the same problems in the south of England.
Higher temperatures on the continent also played their part in Saharan dust reducing visibility in some European cities. Air quality has also been affected, prompting some residents to wear face masks in recent days to deal with the feeling of sand in the atmosphere.