Gloomy Sussex skies due to Iberian wildfires

Smoke particles will mean a grey sky rather than the red from Saharan dust
Smoke particles will mean a grey sky rather than the red from Saharan dust

Wildfires across Spain and Portugal may well be the reason for gloomy skies across Sussex today and tomorrow, the Met Office has revealed.

In a report about Storm Ophelia, the Met office says: “There has been great public interest in the colour of the sky yesterday.

“This interesting phenomenon was a result of the movement of ex-Ophelia, the same southerly winds that have brought us the warmth over the weekend also drew up dust from the Sahara and smoke particles from Iberian wildfires to our latitudes.

“The red or yellow appearance occurs as the dust scatters the blue light from the sun which lets more red light through, much as at sunrise or sunset.

It is likely that the smoke particles alone could return on Wednesday.

“It is important to note that these particles will be at high altitude and are not expected to bring air quality issues at ground level, the smoke particles alone are not expected to turn the sky red to such an extent as yesterday.”

While Ophelia battered the west of the UK and Ireland, the South-East saw warmer than normal temperatures and Manston Airport in Kent recorded 23.5degC making it the warmest October day since 2014.