Unusual Orange Skies Engulf Athens as Helsinki Faces Surprising Late April Weather

Athens turns apocalyptic orange as Sahara dust storm hits, while Helsinki faces surprise late-April snowfall, highlighting climate change's unpredictable impacts across Europe.

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Unusual Orange Skies Engulf Athens as Helsinki Faces Surprising Late April Weather

Unusual Orange Skies Engulf Athens as Helsinki Faces Surprising Late April Weather

Athens, Greece experienced an unusual phenomenon on Tuesday as the sky turned an apocalyptic orange color, likely due to a combination of dust clouds from the Sahara desert and atmospheric conditions. The intense orange hue blanketed the city, including the iconic Acropolis, creating an eerie and striking visual effect.

The Greek authorities issued a health advisory, urging the public to stay indoors, avoid physical activity outdoors, and keep windows and doors closed to minimize exposure to the dust particles. "The dust can negatively impact health, especially for those with respiratory ailments," warned the Greek Pulmonology Association. Visibility decreased in the city center and surrounding regions.

The dust clouds, estimated to have traveled around 1,000 kilometers from Africa to Greece, are a mixture of sand and dust from the Saharan desert. While the intensity of the current phenomenon has not been seen since 2018, such occurrences are not uncommon in Greece, happening around 30 days per year on average.

The strong southerly winds carrying the dust also fanned unseasonably early wildfires in southern Greece, with a total of 25 wildfires reported in the past 24 hours. Three people were arrested on the island of Paros for accidentally starting a scrub fire, while another blaze broke out on Crete near a naval base.

Why this matters: The unusual orange skies in Athens and the surprising late April weather in Helsinki emphasize the unpredictable and changing climate patterns being observed across different parts of Europe. These events act as a reminder of the potential health risks and disruptions that extreme weather conditions can pose to daily life and the environment.

Meanwhile, in Helsinki, Finland, residents faced surprising late April weather as the city experienced unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. The Finnish Meteorological Institute reported 10 to 20 cm of snow in southern and southwestern parts of the country, with temperatures dropping to freezing point. The adverse weather conditions disrupted commuter traffic, caused flight delays and cancellations, and led to the temporary shutdown of the city's tram network due to snow accumulation.

Weather experts predict that the skies over Athens will begin to clear on Wednesday as the winds shift and move the dust away. The Greek Meteorological Service indicated that muddy rain is expected in northern and western Greece. In Helsinki, despite the disruptions, tram services in the capital region gradually resumed on Tuesday afternoon as the city worked to clear the unexpected snowfall.

Key Takeaways

  • Athens, Greece experienced an apocalyptic orange sky due to Sahara dust storm.
  • Greek authorities issued health advisory, warned of respiratory risks from dust.
  • Dust clouds traveled 1,000 km from Africa, causing wildfires in southern Greece.
  • Helsinki, Finland faced unexpected late April snowfall, disrupting transportation.
  • Weather experts predict Athens skies to clear, Helsinki tram services to resume.