Sahara sand, heat and pollution in the South of France this Sunday

By Gilles MATRICON, meteorologist

Cars polluted by Sahara sand, sky with a yellowish gray color and pollution sensors that detect a high level of fine particles and scorching heat in the south: The situation is under surveillance this Sunday in the south of France.

This spring is characterized by an atmospheric circulation that is more meridian than zonal over France. The cool periods associated with diving in polar air are followed by exceptional heat episodes caused by the rise in Sahara air. Such is the case again this Sunday with the south wind.

The southerly wind channeled between a depression and an anticyclone

This Sunday, a depression positions itself off Portugal, while an anticyclone simultaneously stretches from Algeria to central France to Germany.

These two action centers will channel a moderate south to southeast wind. For the 5th time in 3 months, it carries sand from the Sahara desert into the lower layers of the atmosphere. This south to southeast wind carries this Sahara dust across the Mediterranean, which reaches France via the Pyrenees.

Thereby, this Sunday, the regions of a large southern half will be affected by these sand deposits from the Sahara. It is from Aquitaine to the RhĂ´ne-Alpes in the south-east that this phenomenon is most visible: in fact, the snow, which is still present at high altitude, will again be covered by an ocher-colored color associated with the deposition of Sand from the Sahara exactly. Note that this episode should be of the same intensity as the previous four in March and April, as the southern current is just as strong in altitude. Also note that as long as it does not rain to bring the sand down to the ground, this phenomenon goes more unnoticed. It nonetheless colors the sky with a yellowish mist, which is without a doubt the most spectacular aspect. But tonight, with the arrival of the storms, you will definitely have deposits of sand and dust on your cars!

The 35 ° C brushed in the south of France

This southerly wind brings an exceptional heat episode for the season. Last Saturday it was in the southwest that it was warmest, up to 37 ° C in the Basque Country. Monthly heat records were recorded in Albi, Rodez, Aurillac, Montélimar and Le Puy. This Sunday it is from the center of Aquitaine to the Midi-Pyrénées in the center-east that the heat will be strongest with 33 to 35 ° C. But due to a veil of high clouds, sometimes thick, and the presence of sand particles, coming up from the Sahara, temperatures will be lower than originally expected. No record was to be broken this Sunday, unlike yesterday.

Beware of pollution!

With this Sunday’s strong heat in the south, air quality has deteriorated sharply, especially in the south with a very significant peak of fine particle pollution in the Aquitaine Basin and the RhĂ´ne-Alpes. If you are sensitive to high heat and pollution, avoid sudden exertion and do not go out in the hottest hours of the day. Fortunately, the improvement tomorrow Monday, with the brutal direction of the wind to the west associated with the passage of sometimes violent thunderstorms and the drop in temperatures, will be very rapid and you will breathe better.

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