Wednesday, 03 March, 2021

Canary Islands sandstorm: Flights disrupted as dust cloud strands tourists

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Powerful winds have blown a cloud of sand from the Sahara desert to the Canary Islands

A huge sandstorm from the Sahara has shrouded Spain’s Canary Islands, disrupting travel options for travellers traveling in and out.

Spain’s airport operator Aena cancelled, suspended or diverted all flights to and from the islands on Sunday, citing minimal visibility.

But on Sunday night, Aena explained operations had resumed at all airports, apart from Tenerife South.

A state of warn was issued by the regional governing administration on Saturday, with people recommended to stay indoors, shut their home windows and keep away from vacation.

Spain’s countrywide temperature services mentioned winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) could buffet the Canaries right until Monday.

It is robust winds that have blasted the islands with a dense cloud of sand from the Saharan desert, some 500km (300 miles) across the Atlantic Ocean.

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A satellite graphic displays the sandstorm blasting the Canary Islands from the east

The sandstorm is so monumental, it is obvious from area, with satellite pictures showing it engulfing the islands, off the coast of north-west Africa.

Ferry solutions and initiatives to deal with wildfires in Tasarte, Gran Canaria, have also been hampered by the winds.

Passengers wait at Tenerife South Reina Sofia Airport after flights were cancelled due to a sandstormImage copyright
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All flights were being cancelled to and from airports on the islands on Sunday

Stranded passengers wait at Las Palmas Airport in Gran Canaria, as a sandstorm disrupts travelPicture copyright

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Passengers have been stranded at airports throughout the islands

In a tweet, Spain’s transport minister, José Luis Ábalos, thanked neighbouring nations for their “solidarity”.

The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma, are well-liked with European holidaymakers in research of winter season solar.

What is the circumstance with tourists?

Hundreds of flights have been afflicted by the weather conditions problems, leaving travelers stranded at airports across the Canaries. On Sunday, 822 flights were affected, Aena reported in a tweet.

Aena encouraged travellers to verify the standing of their flight with their airline.

“We’re remaining in regular get hold of with our prospects and we appear ahead to receiving them on their way tomorrow [Monday],” a spokeswoman for airline British Airways said.

A man takes a stroll around Majada Marcial neighbourhood in Puerto del Rosario, FuerteventuraImage copyright

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The Canary Islands are popular with European vacationers searching for sun through winter

Greg Horsman, 29, was anticipating to fly dwelling to Manchester from Gran Canaria on Saturday right after going on a cruise with his girlfriend.

He informed PA news agency his flight was cancelled just after a 5-hour hold out at the airport.

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Media captionRobust winds carrying sand from the Sahara have impacted airports in the Canary Islands

“It really is annoying. We’re just ready to be property,” he claimed.

What is going on with the wildfires?

Firefighters are battling to consist of wildfires in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, where by temperatures have soared above 30C in latest times.

In south-west Gran Canaria, in the vicinity of the village of Tasarte, blazes have scorched all-around 300 hectares of land, forcing the evacuation of 500 persons.

Firefighters battle a blaze in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary IslandsImpression copyright

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Temperatures have soared in the Canary Islands, making excellent ailments for wildfires to erupt

On Saturday, solid winds prevented drinking water-dropping aircraft from tackling fires close to Tasarte.

On the neighbouring island of Tenerife, close to 1,000 locals and holidaymakers ended up evacuated as a precaution simply because of the risk from blazes.

Pedro Marin, head of Tenerife’s area authorities, explained the scale of the wildfires as “a wholly abnormal problem”.

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