Plymouth is cleaning up after tonnes of Saharan sand were dumped on city
CAR washes are set for a brisk trade as proud motorists clean up after a dust cloud swept in from the Sahara.
Vehicles across Plymouth have been coated in a layer of fine sand whipped up during a storm 2,000 miles away in Africa, the Met Office said.
"Late last week a storm swept up a large amount of sand and dust from the western Sahara up into the atmosphere," a spokesman for the weather agency said.
"It then spread westwards out over the Atlantic before getting caught up in southerly winds, dragging it north over Spain before it arrived over the UK mixed up in the warm and humid air which has brought thunder storms and heavy rain to the country."
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The dust can get caught up in the rain droplets in clouds, which then fall to the ground, they said, and when the water evaporates, a thin layer of dust is left on surfaces, like the cars pictured above and left.
Many people noticed this in Plymouth and the South West on Wednesday evening. The dust then spread north and east overnight to bring it to a much wider area.
Sarah Holland at the Met Office said Plymothians shouldn't expect to see any more dust as the storm how now cleared from the local area.
Paul Hutcheon, Deputy Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, added: "We usually see this happen several times a year, particularly in summer when you get these big dust storms in the western Sahara and the southerly winds to bring that dust here.
"This event was a very well-marked example, as you can clearly see the dust as it moves from the Sahara to the UK in the satellite imagery."