UK

Hurricane Ophelia Causes Unusual 'Red Sun' As Saharan Dust Is Blown North

'Repent all ye sinners! A red sun is risen!'

16/10/2017 12:29 BST | Updated 16/10/2017 17:02 BST

Perplexed Britons have taken to the streets (and social media) after the sun turned red and seemed to disappear from the sky as a result of Hurricane Ophelia dragging tropical air and dust from the Saharan.

As Ireland and parts of the UK prepare for the strong winds coming from the Atlantic, another phenomenon has been spotted in the skies across England and Wales.

PA Wire/PA Images
A plane flies past the Shard in central London, as the sky takes on an unusual orange colour caused by Storm Ophelia

The red sun has been seen in North West, North East, the West Midlands and South West of England, as well as parts of Wales.

The Met Office said that Hurricane Ophelia has drawn Saharan dust north to the UK, causing the sun to appear red.

The Met Office said: “An interesting phenomena that is a result of the movement of ex-Ophelia is the colour of the sky and the sun this morning (Monday), and dust on cars.

“The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset.”

BBC weather presenter Simon King said the dust which has been pulled from the Sahara has caused light to be refracted and reflected in longer wavelengths, making it appear red.

“Ophelia originated in the Azores where it was a hurricane and as it tracked its way northwards it dragged in tropical air from the Sahara,” King told the BBC.

QuietAnnabelle
The red sun is a result of Saharan dust being dragged over to the UK by Hurricane Ophelia.

“The dust gets picked up into the air and goes high up into the atmosphere, and that dust has been dragged high up in the atmosphere above the UK,” he added.

“Because the dust is so high, light from the sun is scattered in the longer wavelengths, which is more the red part of the spectrum, so it appears red to our eyes.”

Hampshire Cricket team tweeted a picture of the Sahara dust that had gathered at their ground.

Despite the red sun being a scientific phenomenon, this hasn’t stopped some from speculating that there could be more to the red sun than meets the eye.

Some have warned that it could signal the “apocalypse”, while others have made comparisons to the Lord of The Rings and the Bible.

The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia is set to hit the British Isles on Monday, with gusts of wind of up to 90mph forcing schools to close as the Met Offie warns there is a “danger to life”. 

Severe weather alerts have been issued, with the Met Office warning of potential power cuts and disruption to transport and mobile phone signal. 

The Republic of Ireland dispatched its armed forces in a bid to bolster flood defences on Sunday.