THIS week Spain has been hit by a weather phenomenon known as the calima, when a dust storm from the Sahara swept north and dumped its fine red sand across Spain.

The air had a dense orange hue and the air quality was very poor causing low visibility and breathing problems for ashmatics.

These photos posted by Aemet weatherman Ruben del Campo comparing visibility on a typical clear day and on Tuesday when calima struck show the difference.

Spain’s weather agency Aemet described it as “extraordinary and very intense” while commentators speculated that it was the heaviest calima in living memory.

This map shows the hot Saharan air sweeping northwards.

Across Spain people woke on Tuesday to find a layer of red dust covering streets, cars, and terraces.

In mountainous areas, the snow turned red as these extraordinary pictures shows from the Guadarrama mountain range outside Madrid.

And this footage of skiing down orange pistes in the Sierra Nevada.

Authorities recommended that people wear face masks when venturing outdoors and to avoid strenuous exercise.

Social media was flooded with striking images in the aftermath of the dust storm, while for many it was an opportunity to daub markings in the dust on top of cars.

The clean-up continues…

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