Photos: Red sky wows the UK in the midst of Ophelia
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
July 05, 2019, 2:26:23 AM EDT
A stunning, red-tinted sky sent social media abuzz in the United Kingdom on Monday as former Hurricane Ophelia impacted the region.
This was no Instagram filter, however.
Awe-stricken residents of England and Wales were treated to the picturesque sight of a blazing red sun, which doused the sky with a captivating orange glow.
The unusual phenomenon undoubtedly had many people wondering: Why is the sky so red?
“Is it Ophelia or is it the dust from Africa? The answer is it’s both,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
“Ophelia came from south of the Azores and moved northward, and it pulled the dust up from North Africa up along with it,” Roys said.
The southern dust and smoke from wildfires in northern Iberia scattered blue light from the sun, which allowed more red light through, according to the Met Office.
The uniquely orange sky was mainly visible in the morning into the early afternoon on Monday as the dust plume moved through the area.
The timing for dust to be visible in the U.K. is rare, according to Roys.
“The best time for the U.K. to see dust in the sky is during the height of summer, when they have more of a southerly wind that is drawing the warmth up,” he said.
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Hazy sunshine as a result of dust is not uncommon during summer across parts of the Mediterranean, including Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Clouds from Ophelia helped make this particular occurrence so unique.
“During the summer months, there are few clouds roaming around southern Europe, which is why we typically don't see the orange sky more often,” Roys said.
“As for other areas, the dust is always roaming across North Africa and the Middle East, which helps create the orange sky at dusk; otherwise, it is not a very common thing elsewhere across the world,” he added.
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