Ophelia Turns the Sun ‘Red’ in UK

Dust from Sahara Desert pulled to the country
October 16, 2017 Updated: October 16, 2017

Hurricane Ophelia turned the sun red in the United Kingdom.

The odd phenomenon was captured as the storm, which left at least three people dead, lashed the country.

Dust from the Sahara Desert was sucked by the powerful storm, creating an orange cloud, turning the sun a reddish-orange color. It was packing winds of 80 mph, The Sun reported.

Many people in Devon, Cornwall, Bristol, and Somerset saw the unusual phenomenon. But some in Liverpool and Manchester spotted it.

“It’s all connected with Ophelia, on the eastern side of the low pressure system air is coming up in the southern direction,” Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge was quoted as saying, referring to the dust cloud.

“Air is being pulled from southern Europe and Africa and that air contains a lot of dust,” he said. “So it’s most likely the appearance of sunset at midday is caused by the particles scattering the light and giving the appearance of a red sun.”

He said that it is “certainly spectacular at the moment and quite a talking point, we’ve had a lot of calls about it,” the paper reported.

Ophelia has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, Reuters reported.

Over 360,000 homes and businesses were without electricity with another 100,000 outages expected by nightfall, Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board said, describing it as an unprecedented event that would effect every part of the country for days.

Around 170 flights from Ireland’s two main airports at Dublin and Shannon were cancelled.

Two people were killed in separate incidents when trees fell on their cars — a woman in her 50s in the south east and a man on the east coast. Another man in his 30s died while trying to clear a fallen tree in an incident involving a chainsaw.

The storm, downgraded from a hurricane overnight, was the worst to hit Ireland in half a century. It made landfall after 10:40 a.m. (0940 GMT), the Irish National Meteorological Service said, with winds as strong as 190 kph (110 mph) hitting the most southerly tip of the country. Coastal flooding was likely.

“This storm is still very active and there are still very dangerous conditions in parts of the country. Do not be lulled into thinking this has passed,” the chairman of Ireland’s National Emergency Coordination Group, Sean Hogan, told national broadcaster RTE.

Reuters contributed to this report.