Saharan dust cloud sweeps through Spain and across Europe

ITV News Reporter Yasmin Bodalbhai explores how and why the Saharan dust blowing across Europe reached the UK earlier on Wednesday

Dust from the Sahara Desert has moved across Europe, turning skies a stark red-orange colour around the continent.

The dust cloud, which is 2km above ground level, fell during showers in southern parts of the UK on Wednesday.

It comes as parts of southern Spain have been blanketed with dust following a thick plume which has turned skies orange, while satellite images clearly show the dust over France.

The skies looked apocalyptic in Spain before the dust cloud swept into France and Switzerland too

Spanish authorities were prompted to issue extremely bad air quality warnings on Tuesday for Madrid and a large swath of the country.

In Málaga, on Spain's southern coast, the dust mixed with rain in the air before coming down.

“It is like it was raining mud”, said Álvaro López, a student at the University of Málaga. “I was in the car this morning and mud was literally falling.

A red and orange tinged sky is seen over the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain on Monday afternoon Credit: AP

A spokesman for Spain's weather service, Rubén del Campo, said it was unclear if climate change had a direct link to the incident, but added the expansion of the Sahara Desert over the past century has increased the potential for larger dust storms in Europe.

Mr del Campo also said the increasingly turbulent weather patterns linked to climate change could play a part.

Here are some photos of the eerie looking landscapes across Europe:

Payerne, Switzerland Credit: AP
Verbier, Switzerland Credit: AP
Paying the local occupancy tax in some resort towns in Germany gives access to certain public facilities otherwise shut off to the public. Credit: AP
Strasbourg, France Credit: AP
A skier descends at the Pizol ski resort on a slope partially covered with Sahara dust, in Wangs, Switzerland Credit: AP