Unprecedented Sahara Sandstorm Disrupts Air Traffic for Two Days in Canary Islands


A massive sandstorm engulfed the Canary Islands on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

The Saharan dust brought by heavy winds closed down all eight airports on Spain’s Canary Islands. Meanwhile, two days after, they have reopened but air traffic is still hampered.

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NASA satellite image shows the massive sandstorm from Sahara engulfing the Canary Islands on February 22, 2020. Picture via Twitter video

A powerful sandstorm coming from the Sahara Desert disrupted air traffic to and from the Canary Islands from Saturday evening to Monday morning.

The storm even affected Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Now look at the amazing satellite images compiled in this video:

All 8 airports on Spain’s Canary Islands reopened on Monday although service was reduced and hampered over the Spanish archipelago.

Travellers were advised to check the status of the flight with their airline.

Air travel was first disrupted on Saturday on Gran Canaria and Tenerife. On sunday, AENA closed all 8 airports in the Canaries and all flights being diverted to mainland Spain, Cape Verde, Morocco, Mauritania or/and Portugal.

Dust storms are dangerous for aircrafts as they reduces visibility. Moreover, large concentration of sand and dust can block and corrode engines, pilot static systems and conditioning packs.

Unprecedented for the Canaries

According to the local government, the Canary Islands have never faced such adverse weather conditions.

Officials even had to declare a state of alert on Saturday and advised people to keep doors and windows closed, as well as avoid travels as winds of up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) were gustings along the coasts.

Strong winds also fueled fires near the village of Tasarte in southwest Gran Canaria, forcing the evacuation of more than 500 people. Another 1,000 people were evacuated in Tenerife after huge fires started on the north of the island.

The Canary Islands are currently experiencing a completely unusual situation. According to officials, it’s a never-seen-before sandstorm and it is the first time that so many fires have broken out in so many municipalities at the same time, and in different places. The strong winds should diminish today.

Did you know that Sahara dust sometimes travels until Florida and even Texas? More extreme weather news on Strange Sounds or Steve Quayle. [The Local]

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