The dry, arid winds from the Sahara had a draining effect on Portadown’s water supply over the weekend!
For the dull grey-coloured sand was blown the 3,000 miles on the prevailing wind, and settled on cars all over Northern Ireland. Which meant that car owners had to reach for the bucket and sponge and give the automobile a thorough wash, even if they had scrubbed it the previous day.
And car washes did a roaring trade on Monday as they soaped and rinsed the North African residue which had settled on every garage-less vehicle in town and far beyond.
Portadown’s longest-established car wash – Crystal Clear at Mahon Road – was typical. Owner Keith Ratciiffe said, “It was hectic all day on Monday, with drivers queuing up for a car wash and others going through our ‘wash-and-blow-dry’ system. Cars were absolutely dirty, covered in fine dust.”
Billy McClean, driving a pure white C-MAX was typical. “I’d had it washed shining clean a few days before and when I looked at it on Sunday morning, the paintwork was hardly visible under the ash,” he said. “White shows all the dirt and I couldn’t believe how dirty the car was.”
When the wind from the Sahara reached Northern Ireland, it started to rain and that’s what caused the sheet of dust all over the province as it dumped the dust.
Africa is a long way from Northern Ireland, but Saharan dust travelled all the way to the south of Florida - about 5,000 miles - in the summer of 2012. And last summer, a massive Saharan dust cloud covered part of the Atlantic
So expect more dirty rain – and dust-covered cars!