Heat and Dust: The North African Desert Sand Which Each Year Creates a Blanket of Dust Over Greece

Painting by John Miller
Painting by John Miller

What I saw, when I drew back the curtains at eight o clock this morning caused me to utter the Greek expression “Och”.

It's more of a sound rather than an actual word, used to express surprise or amazement.

What had I seen?

Out there was a thick, soup-like, yellow fog.


Dust from the Sahara Desert, obscuring the sea. View from my bedroom.Loutraki
Dust from the Sahara Desert, obscuring the sea.
View from my bedroom. Loutraki -  Photo Greeker than the Greeks

Only this wasn't fog at all, a Southern wind had filled the atmosphere with sand and dust, blown all the way from North Africa, bringing not only the dust, but a glorious warmth.

 Dare I say spring is here?


Sahara Desert
Sahara Desert


The sea was invisible, the Gerania Mountain had disappeared and cars had their headlights on.


The Gerania Mountain seems to have disappeared!
The Gerania Mountain of Loutraki seems to have disappeared!
Photo - Greeker than the Greeks

This happens quite regularly here in Greece, all year round, usually just after I have worn myself out, washing balconies, shutters and windows!


Not the moon;the sun!
Not the moon; the sun, obliterated by sand blown to Greece from North Africa.
Photo  - Greeker than the Greeks


The decent of this blanket of gritty dust, which covers Greece every year, is caused by the warm, dry Sirocco wind,  moving East across the Mediterranean Sea, bringing with it sand from the Arabian or Sahara deserts.

Sirocco winds, which can last as little as half a day, or up to several days, can move at speeds of up to a hundred kilometers an hour, are most common in autumn and spring,   reach a peak in March and in November. 


Mediterranean Winds
Mediterranean Winds


No one likes to hear a Sirocco wind is on its way, bringing with it heat, and the dust, which seems to pentrate everything, causing health problems, clogging up machinary, but I imagine car wash owners may rubbing their hands together, no care escapes the Saraha dust, not even if it's in a garage! 

Ready for the car wash.
Ready for the car wash.

It seems  the weather has been strange all over Greece, my son was attending  a windsurfing championship at Tsimari, Mesologgi, ( a lagoon discovered by speed windsurfers, one of the best places for speed surfing in Greece), where rain had completly washed out the road.

 No problem, they ditched their cars, took off their shoes, rolled up their trousers, and walked the last bit of the way to their destination, with their surboards under their arms.


Tsimari, Mesologgi,- one of the best places for speed surfing in Greece
Tsimari, Mesologgi,- one of the best places for speed surfing in Greece



 The evening news, was full of stories about the bad weather throughout Greece.
Northern Greece had been especially bad, sadly, because of torrential rain, a beautiful historic bridge, said to be the most beautiful in the Balkans, had collapsed.


Plaka Bridge, Epirus
Plaka Bridge, Epirus


The walkway along the Plaka Bridge
The walkway along the Plaka Bridge

The Plaka bridge of Epirus, built in 1866, was sixty one metres long and twenty metres high, what a terrible loss.


Plaka Bridge washed away by the river
Plaka Bridge washed away by the river

Let’s see what tomorrow brings, heavy thunder storms expected.

At least it will wash away all this dust.


Lycavitos, Athens, under dust
Lycavitos, Athens, under dust

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