Irish tourists could have vacation plans upended as Spain issues ‘extremely poor air quality’ warning
Irish holidaymakers could see their plans upended after Spanish authorities issued an extremely poor air quality warning for Madrid following a hot air mass dumping dust from the Sahara on the city.
Along with other parts of the southeast coast, the capital received the worst “extremely unfavorable” rating by Spain’s national air quality index.
Spanish meteorologists described the dust dumped after the mass crossed the Mediterranean as “extraordinary and very intense”, saying it could be the worst episode of this event on record.
Forecasters said the dust would continue to accumulate through Wednesday and could spread north and possibly into the Netherlands and Germany.
A layer of red dust blanketed much of the capital, making it difficult to drive and even walk outside as visibility was reduced to 2.5 miles.
People have been urged to use face masks if they go outside.
The hot air mass also affected air quality in regions north of Madrid, such as the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
The weather service said the hot air mass from Africa was brought by a storm that brought much-needed rain to drought-stricken Spain. Temperatures in the region reached 20°C in some places.
Ruben del Campo, spokesman for Spain’s meteorological service, said that while it was unclear whether climate change had a direct link to this episode, the expansion of the Sahara Desert over the past century has increased. the potential for larger dust storm events in Europe.
He also said increasingly turbulent weather patterns linked to climate change could play a role.
“There are many concerns about the impact of climate change on the frequency and intensity patterns of storms that favor the arrival of dust in our country,” said del Campo.