Desert Dust to Blanket Most of Greece Until Good Friday

FILE - People walks on Lycabettus hill as at the background is seen the city of Athens with the Acropolis hill covered with dust from the Saharan desert on Monday, March 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Clouds of dust carried by the winds from Libya and other parts of North Africa are expected to blanket most parts of Greece throughout the week, reaching their peak concentration on Orthodox Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The high dust concentrations are expected to start abating from the afternoon on Holy Saturday.

Worst affected, according to the National Observatory of Athens weather service meteo, will be the regions of Epirus, West Central Greece, the Peloponnese and Crete.

The dust clouds are a phenomenon that has traversed the Mediterranean and on occasions reached as far as the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Based on calculations carried out by meteo scientists, the source is traced back to Libya and areas dominated by clay soil and fine sand.

Strong winds blowing in Libya in the last few days, combined with low pressures in the Western Mediterranean and high pressure in the Eastern Mediterranean raises large quantities of dust into the air and transports it toward Greece and other European countries. This causes reduced visibility, especially in southern Greece, and muddy rain.

Temperatures in Greece, meanwhile, have exceeded 25 C with the highest temperatures recorded in the Peloponnese. According to meteo weather stations, the highest maximum temperatures on Holy Tuesday were in Kyparissia (25.9C), Amaliada (25.1C), Zacharo in Ilia (24.8C), Vartholomio (24.7C) and Igoumenitsa (24.7C).