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Photos show Spain blanketed in orange dust from Saharan sand storm

  • Sand and dust blanketed the Canary Islands over the weekend, causing chaos for tourists, and worsening wildfires in the area.
  • On Spanish national television, the Canary Islands’ regional president Angel Victor Torres said it was a “nightmare weekend.”
  • It’s not the first time it’s happened. The phenomena, called a “calima” is where a Saharan sand storm is blown across the Atlantic Ocean by strong winds. This one had winds up to 75 mph.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The sky turned orange in the Canary Islands.

Over the weekend, 75 mph winds blew a sandstorm from the Saharan desert across the Atlantic Ocean onto the Canary Islands.

The phenomena is called a “calima,” and it’s not the first time it’s happened. But on Spanish national television, regional president Angel Victor Torres said it was the worst sand storm he had seen in 40 years. He called it a “nightmare weekend.”

Along with disrupting hundreds of flights, the high winds also made wildfires in the region worse. On Gran Canaria, one of the islands, local reports said the air quality was the worst in the world.

One local, named Manuel Campos, told The New York Times, “I’m old enough to know all about the calima, but I don’t recall it that strong. Everything just turned red.”

Here’s what the sandstorm looked like from on the ground and in space.

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