31 Mar, 2021 @ 11:15
1 min read

‘Calima’ phenomenon descends on Spain’s Costa del Sol for two days as March closes the door on winter

RESIDENTS along the Costa del Sol woke up this morning to the annual low lying haze that engulfs the coastline in a turbulent start to Spring.

The ‘Calima’ phenomenon swept across the coast this morning thanks to strong easterly gusts of wind kicking up Saharan dust and blowing it across the Mediterranean.

According to Jose Maria Sanchez Laulhe, chief at the AEMET centre in Malaga, the dust clouds arrived in the early hours of this morning and are expected to last until tomorrow.

A change of wind direction from east to west will disperse the dust clouds and make way for clearer weather.

The dust clouds cause nuisance for many, leaving thin films of sand and dust on cars and terraces and causing ‘dirty rain’ that leaves buildings filthy.

However the sand clouds can have effects on people too.

Satellite image of the Calima dust storm leaving the African continent

Laulhe estimates that dust levels in the atmosphere will exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre, a level that can in certain cases cause problems for people with respiratory conditions.

Medical professionals from the Quironsalud Hospital in Malaga explain that symptoms of the Saharan dust are similar to allergies, with itchy eyes, sneezing and sore eyes.

In certain cases it can also cause problems breathing and exacerbate asthma symptoms.

The calima comes as the southern province is issued a yellow alert for strong winds for the next two days as the Levante currents blow across the coast, causing high waves and unusually high and humid temperatures.


Spain’s Malaga City kicks off its beach season this Saturday.

James Warren

"James spent three years spent working as a junior writer at various English language newspapers in Spain before finding a home at the Olive Press. He previously worked for many years as a bid writer for an international motorsports company. Based in Cordoba since 2014, James covers the southern Subbetica region, northern and inland Malaga and the Axarquia area. Get in touch at newsdesk@theolivepress.es with news or trustworthy tips that you would like him to cover in these areas"

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