Saharan Dust Episode to Peak in Greece on April 24 as Temperatures Soar

Saharan dust event to peak in Greece on April 24, 2024, with high concentrations, potential mud showers, and health concerns. Weather forecast for Easter week remains volatile, with temperature variations and possible rain and storms.

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Saharan Dust Episode to Peak in Greece on April 24 as Temperatures Soar

Saharan Dust Episode to Peak in Greece on April 24 as Temperatures Soar

A major Saharan dust event is expected to reach its peak in Greece on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, with high concentrations of dust limiting visibility and potentially leading to mud showers, mainly in the northern and western parts of the country. The dust transport is being facilitated by meteorological conditions, with clouds and occasional showers forecast for the west, central, and northern mainland.

According to the Athens National Observatory, the thickest clouds and precipitation are predicted in the regions of Thrace and the eastern Aegean islands on Tuesday, April 23. The greater Attica region is expected to see cloudy conditions with temperatures between 16-25°C and blustery winds of 6-7 Beaufort. In Thessaloniki, rain showers will be interrupted by drier spells, with temperatures ranging from 13-19°C and winds up to 4-5 Beaufort in the Thermaikos gulf.

The Hellenic Respiratory Society has warned that the African dust contains particulate matter that can combine with pollen, bacteria, and fungi, creating a highly noxious and hazardous blend for the human body, especially the respiratory system. The dust carries toxic substances such as lead, zinc, chromium, vanadium, arsenic, and nickel, which exceed the maximum permissible concentration for health.

Why this matters: The scientific community is concerned about the consequences of this 'toxic' African dust on human health and the environment, as it has already been linked to increased hospital admissions of patients suffering from respiratory and heart diseases. The National Observatory of Athens has issued instructions for the population, especially vulnerable groups, to be alert and follow recommendations to protect their health during this dust episode.

On Wednesday, April 24, a change in wind direction to the west is expected to lead to a decrease in the amount of dust in the Dodecanese and its gradual removal to the east. Temperatures are forecast to reach up to 38 degrees Celsius, nearly the same as the previous day. The dust event is anticipated to diminish by Thursday, April 25, with generally clear weather and a decrease in temperature.

The weather during Holy Week and Easter is expected to be volatile, with a possibility of rain and storms, especially on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Meteorologists predict temperature variations, with cooler temperatures closer to normal for the season. However, some forecasts suggest that the weather may remain stable, with temperatures ranging between 26-28 degrees Celsius in Athens and around 23 degrees Celsius in Thessaloniki, without significant precipitation until Labor Day.

Key Takeaways

  • Major Saharan dust event expected to peak in Greece on April 24, 2024.
  • Dust to limit visibility, potentially leading to mud showers in northern/western Greece.
  • Dust contains toxic substances, posing health risks, especially for vulnerable groups.
  • Dust event expected to diminish by April 25, with generally clear weather.
  • Easter weather forecast to be volatile, with rain and storms, but temperatures near normal.