A terrifying sandstorm has hit the Canary Islands, appearing to block out the sun in tourist hotspots like Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The sky turned orange across the islands, prompting many tourists to describe the scene as “apocalyptic”. The sandstorm was so huge that even NASA satellites picked up the extreme weather event from space.
Several flights into Lanzarote were diverted today due to the lack of visibility, with the planes instead landing at Fuerteventura and Tenerife North.
Airlines urged passengers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport,.
Spain’s national weather agency AEMET even issued a warning about the sandstorm.
One British tourist tweeted that they were “slightly alarmed by the apocalyptic looking sky”.
Another tourist tweeted: “Sandstorm in Lanzarote! I came for sunshine not sand!”
The sandstorm phenomenon is known as a Calima – which is when strong winds and rising air lifts up Saharan dust and carries it across the Atlantic.
The dense cloud of Saharan sand wreaks havoc for visivility and has even been known to reach as far as the Carribean.
Spain has issued wind warnings for the Canary Islands tonight, amid forecasts showing gusts of up to 120km/h.
The Met Office tweeted: “A #Sandstorm is currently affecting #Fuerteventura and #Lanzarote locally known as a #Calima
“This Saharan dust may spread across the rest of the Canaries over the coming days.”
Visibility in several reas was reduced to just 1300 metres.
The sandstorm is also expected to heat up the island, with temperatures reaching 28C on Sunday.