At this time of year, many of us are in search of some winter sun, and a popular destination for Brits abroad is Egypt.
Typical conditions in Cairo at this time of year are fairly warm, dry and sunny. On average in February you could expect to see daytime highs of 21C, 8 hours of sunshine per day, and 1 wet day in the whole month. However, there may be some disappointed holidaymakers at the moment, as rather than sunshine; there is dust in the forecast. A dense dust plume has been developing across Libya and Egypt and will continue to grow over the coming days.
A deep area of low pressure in the central Mediterranean has given some very unsettled weather over recent days, and will continue to bring heavy rain and snow to northern parts of Algeria, Tunisia and perhaps western parts of Libya over the next few days. Very strong winds around the low will generate dust storms and sand storms and these will move across the rest of Libya and into Egypt.
The dust storms will be severe and widespread enough to cause some disruption to air travel in the region, with perhaps some public health issues also.
The deep pink area in this satellite picture is the dust, and the line of dust stretches right up towards Greece.
These intense dust storms are often called Haboobs, which were first named in Saharan Sudan. They are frequently associated with thunderstorms or even small tornadoes, and usually last about three hours. The storms tend to develop late in the day during summer, and are sometime followed by rain. They can transport and deposit huge quantities of sand or dust, moving as an extremely dense wall that can be up to 100 km wide and several kilometers high.
For more information about the weather abroad, visit the Met Office’s holiday weather section.
Check the Foreign Office for travel advice before travelling to Egypt here.
© Met Office