'Saharan dust cloud' heading towards Ireland, Met Eireann warns

'Saharan dust cloud' heading towards Ireland, Met Eireann warns

MET Eireann is predicting a drastic weather change next week, as a rare cluster of “Saharan” dust is spotted by NASA's Earth Observatory heading for Ireland.

Expert Alan O'Reilly from Carlow Weather shared his forecast with the Irish Mirror that some "Saharan dust" will be arriving to the island of Ireland this week.

He said: "Did you wash the windows at the weekend? Well I’m afraid we could see some Saharan dust blowing up over us this week."

NASA's Earth Observatory has confirmed that the plume heading towards Europe was originally "stirred up" in the far-off clime of north-eastern Chad.

The American space agency explained: "Each year more than 180 million tons of dust blow out from North Africa, lofted out of the Sahara Desert by strong seasonal winds. Perhaps most familiar are the huge, showy plumes that advance across the tropical Atlantic Ocean toward the Americas. But the dust goes elsewhere, too—settling back down in other parts of Africa or drifting north toward Europe.

"A dramatic display of airborne dust particles was observed on February 18, 2021, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 spacecraft. The dust appears widespread, but particularly stirred up over the Bodélé Depression in northeastern Chad."

Overall, weather conditions will remain a mixed bag for the remainder of this week as occasional showers are accompanied by some sunny spells in places.

A Met Eireann forecaster said: "Largely cloudy to start this morning with mist and fog gradually clearing. Dry for much of the country with some sunny spells developing, but isolated showers will affect the south and southeast.

"Highest temperatures of 5 to 8 degrees over the northern half of the country but ranging 7 to 11 degrees further south, with light northeasterly or variable breezes.

"Mainly dry and cloudy tonight with just a few clear spells. However, a few passing showers will affect parts of the north and northwest. Mist patches and a slight frost will develop where skies are clear. Lowest temperatures of 0 to 4 degrees in light northeasterly or variable breezes.

"A cooler day on Thursday. Rather cloudy too with just a few sunny spells breaking through. Most areas will stay dry, but some light showers will occur. Highest temperatures of just 5 to 8 degrees, warmest in the southwest, in light to moderate easterly breezes.

"Dry for most on Thursday with a mix of cloud and sunny spells, the best of which will be in the eastern half of the country. Some showers will affect coastal fringes of Munster and Connacht. Highest temperatures of 5 to 9 degrees. Light to moderate southeasterly winds will freshen on Atlantic coasts."