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Dodecanese suffer from sand storms

Dodecanese islands suffer from sand storms.

Holidaymakers in the Dodecanese islands of Greece may find a little more sand than expected on the beaches this year. As the UK remains in the frozen grip of a long winter, Greek islands in the southern Mediterranean are still recovering from a winter of sand storms.

The same weather systems that have kept the UK dry and cold are thought responsible for sand and dust being blown from the Sahara over southern Greek islands of the Dodecanese chain that include Rhodes, Symi and Kos.

Greek island holiday maps will show that islands like Kos are relatively near the north African coast. Normally, northern winds help keep the dust storms at bay but this year the strong southerly winds have carried large quantities of fine red sand over the eastern Mediterranean and dumped it on many Greek islands.

The extent of the sand was captured by a NASA satellite camera on April 8. Weather maps show high pressure systems over Europe and low pressure systems in north-west Africa can alter the normal jet stream patterns for this time of year.

The east-west jet stream normally acts as a buffer against northerly and southerly winds. Climatologists' maps show that disturbances over the North Atlantic can cause diametrically opposite weather conditions in northern Europe and south-eastern Europe.

So, as the north shivered in cold, easterly winds the southerly Greek islands got warm, southerly breezes, an early spring and lots of sand from the Sahara. On Rhodes this year, holiday sunbathers were out on the beaches in early April as temperatures hit the low 20s.

It is the same story for those taking a holiday break on Cyprus where sand storms have been reported in many beach resorts as well as in the island capital of Nicosia.

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