BETWEEN the global plague of the past couple of years, the threat of a third world war, and now the arrival of nothing less than “blood rain” in Fermanagh, you could be forgiven for a feeling a little apocalyptic in recent times.
The local public can be assured, though, that the strange weather phenomenon that was noticed across the county at the weekend had a perfectly natural explanation and did not signal the end of times. It was, in fact, the result of a sand storm in the Sahara desert.
On Sunday and Monday mornings many motorists across the county woke to find their cars covered in a fine film of reddish orange dust. Known as ‘blood rain’, the dust had travelled from northern Africa after being sucked up into the atmosphere following a large storm in the region last week.
The phenomenon was much more noticeable in southern European countries, several days before it arrived in Ireland, with Spain forced to issue a poor air quality warning ahead of the arrival of the dust cloud last week. The dust then fell on southern England last Wednesday, with some predicting the blood rain could arrive in Ireland in time for St Patrick’s Day. However, with the country enjoying fine dry weather over the bank holiday, it wasn’t until the weekend the after affects of the Saharan storm were felt locally.
Blood rain, which is not a scientific term and is often used quite loosely, like we saw at the weekend is rare but not unheard of in the UK and Ireland. However, the Met Office has said true blood rain, when the drops are dramatically and vibrantly red when falling, is much rarer.
“These days, in the UK at least, the term blood rain seems to be used much more loosely than the grandiose term would suggest,” said a spokesman.
“The dust we see is usually yellow or brown and mixed in very low concentrations, so the rain would look just the same as usual,” they added. “The only difference would be that you might find a thin film of dust on your car or windows after the water has evaporated.”
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