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Storm Jorge: Europe braces for heavy rain, floods — and Saharan dust

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Wind and pressure isobars forecast for February 29, 2020..
Wind and pressure isobars forecast for February 29, 2020..   -   Copyright  MetDesk
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Parts of Europe are braced for Storm Jorge this weekend, which is expected to bring yet more rain to flood-hit Britain — and Saharan dust across southern Europe.

Rain warnings were issued in Ireland, where Met Eireann said heavy rain would "worsen the flooding situation across the country". The western part of the island is also set for "severe winds".

Britain's Met Office has forecast that between 60-80mm of rain could fall in Wales and northern England over the weekend.

"With rain falling on already saturated ground, further flooding is possible in places," it warned.

The UK, still reeling from the impact of Storm Dennis and Storm Ciara, already has 88 flood warnings in place.

"Where warnings are in place, gusts of 50-60mph are likely quite widely with 65-70pmh possible in coastal areas," the Met Office added.

Five-metre waves

Meanwhile, the Spanish meteorological agency (AEMET) has placed the country's Atlantic coast under yellow alert, with an orange warning for the municipality of A Coruna.

It has warned that waves of up to 5 metres could batter the coast.

The storm will also usher another episode of "calima" — when strong, warm winds laden with sand and dust particles from the Sahara blow northwards towards Europe.

This can have an impact on air quality and on infrastructure. One such episode last weekend in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, grounded flights.

The upcoming episode in mainland Europe is expected to be milder but Mark Parrington from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts flagged that "high surface PM10 from calima dust storm predicted across Bay of Biscay & Iberian peninsula" over the weekend.

Porto, Lisbon and Madrid should see levels of PM10 reach 50µg/m3 over the next two days. The recommended limit value is 35µg/m3.

According to forecasts, the calima could even reach Austria, Poland or Ukraine, although in very small concentrations.

European Environment Agency
Air quality data on Friday February 28, 2020European Environment Agency

Storm Jorge is the seventh major European storm of the season.

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