75 mph ‘Calima’ Sandstorm Chokes Canary Islands Forcing School Closures and Grounding/Re-Routing Flights

Written by on February 25, 2020 in Rest of Europe with 0 Comments

The tight pressure gradient between high and low pressure helped generate a powerful and highly disruptive ‘calima’ wind/sandstorm from Sahara across the Canary Islands. The hot, dusty, sandy easterly  gale-force winds turned skies thick red and orange with visibility dropping from 5 miles to less than 1 mile in minutes as choking sand blew through the Spanish island chain during Monday. Winds were said to be as strong a 75 mph.

The below visible satellite image captures the amount and density of sand being swept westwards out over the subtropical Atlantic. This is said to be the worst calima in at least 10-15 years and was serious enough to create poor air quality alerts, close schools, keep people indoors and ground/re-route flights out of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Credit: NASA

Flights en-route to the islands were forced to turn back.

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