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Athens turns orange as winds carry dust from Sahara desert

 Skies over southern Greece turned an orange hue on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Skies over southern Greece turned an orange hue on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By AP
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Skies over southern Greece turned an orange hue on Tuesday as dust clouds blown across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa engulfed the Acropolis and other Athenian landmarks.

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Strong southerly winds carried the dust from the Sahara Desert, giving the atmosphere of the Greek capital a Martian-like filter in the last hours of daylight.

The skies are predicted to clear on Wednesday as winds shift and move the dust, with temperatures dipping. On Tuesday, the daily high in parts of the southern island of Crete topped 30 degrees Celsius, more than 20 degrees higher than what was registered in much of northern Greece.

People took to social media to express surprise at the orange skies that covered the city.

The strong southerly winds over the past few days have also fanned unseasonal early wildfires in the country's south.

The fire service said on Tuesday evening that a total of 25 wildfires broke out across the country in the past 24 hours. Three people were arrested on the Aegean Sea resort island of Paros on suspicion of accidentally starting a scrub blaze on Monday, it added.

 No significant damage or injuries were reported and the fire was quickly contained.

Tourists play with a cat at Lycabettus hill as the city of Athens with the ancient Acropolis hill is seen at the background, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Tourists play with a cat at Lycabettus hill as the city of Athens with the ancient Acropolis hill is seen at the background, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Another blaze that broke out on Crete near a naval base was brought under control on Tuesday.

Greece suffers devastating and often deadly forest blazes every summer, and last year the country recorded the European Union's largest wildfire in more than two decades. 

Persistent drought combined with high spring temperatures has raised fears of a particularly challenging period for firefighters in the coming months.

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