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Ophelia, a former hurricane which was ravaging the Republic of Ireland on Monday with extreme winds and heavy rain, has had a second, bizarre effect on the weather further afield.

Although the weather in most of the UK was relatively calm for the time of year, the country was bathed in a dusky, red-hued glow even in the middle of the day.

According to experts at the Met Office, this weather is also caused by Ophelia, which has carried so much dust in its wake that it has changed the physics of the atmosphere.

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A blog post on the storm said Ophelia had pulled dust from the Sahara desert much farther north than usual. The dust present in the sky interacts with light from the sun, scattering parts of the visible light spectrum.

Ophelia sun

Waves carrying blue light were disrupted and reflected back into the sky, while red waves still got through, giving the world below a redder hue than usual.

The blogpost said: “The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset.”

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