Health Warning Over Red Sun

Millions of people with chronic health problems could be affected today over fears the weird red sun phenomenon caused by Hurricane Ophelia could return.

Experts have warned that people with chronic lung conditions could be affected and forced to stay inside.

Warnings were first issued on Monday when it was feared the Sahara dust that covered Britain could give the millions of asthma sufferers across the country a deadly attack.

The deep red colour that filled the skies over the country was carried in by Hurricane Ophelia.


Weather forecasters now say there’s a chance the red glow could be back in the skies today.

This time, winds could pick up dust particles from wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

A spokeswoman from the British Lung Foundation told the Sun : “These dust episodes can be serious for someone with a lung condition.”

Hundreds of fires have raged across northern and central Portugal since Sunday after the driest summer in nearly 90 years, killing at least 41 people and overwhelming firefighting and rescue services.

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On Monday, many people around Britain ran outside to take photos of the unique sky, but it is feared it could trigger health problems.

A charity warned those with severe asthma to check forecasts and stay indoors where possible to avoid the dust.

Those who do go outside are advised to change their clothes and shower to wash any of the dust off once they return indoors.

Asthma UK helpline head Sonia Munde said on Monday: “We are deeply concerned about the toxic air from Saharan dust that Hurricane Ophelia has churned up.

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“This could pose a severe risk for the 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma.

“Winds picking up dust and particles in the air could trigger potentially fatal asthma attacks.”

If symptoms get worse, then they are advised to talk to a doctor.

Dr Dave Reynolds from The Weather Channel said winds were strong over Iberia on Sunday, which has resulted in dust from there blown to the UK by the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia.

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“Some of the dust may be particulates from the fires, although I think regular fine-grained dust would account for the majority,” he said.

“This is a result of Ophelia to the west of Portugal (on Sunday) and high pressure over the western Mediterranean, although it doesn’t necessarily need a hurricane to do this (a regular, north Atlantic low would be just as good – so long as all the other conditions are met).

“Furthermore, and importantly, the cold front of Ophelia which moved across southern Britain on Monday morning was very weak – this meant there was not much rain to wash the dust out.”

Credits: Liverpool Echo© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Liverpool Echo

Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge said at the start of the week that the former hurricane was pulling air and dust up from southern Europe and Africa.

“It’s all connected with Ophelia, on the eastern side of the low pressure system air is coming up in the southern direction,” he said.

“Air is being pulled from southern Europe and Africa and that air contains a lot of dust.

“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”.


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