Large Dust Storm over Northwestern Africa – October 14th, 2008
In this image, taken on October 10th, 2008, we can see a large dust storm that is affecting Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. In the lower portion of the image there is an arc of sand reaching from the border of Western Sahara through Mauritania and Algeria (near Tindouf), then up towards the Moroccan-Algerian border.
The same depression also created a strong storm that has brought heavy rain to Gibraltar and the Spanish regions of Andalucía and Murcia. According to the Spanish meteorological office, rainfall could be as heavy as 40 litres per square metre in just one hour in Andalucía, while in Murcia 30 litres of rain per square meter could fall in a single hour. The storms are expected to continue over land until Thursday.
Travel conditions through the Strait of Gibraltar, obscured by the arc of white clouds in the image, have also been severely compromised. On October 11th, a Liberian cargo ship was pinned against a rocky cliff at Europa Point in Gibraltar and broken in half by the waves.
Contrary to how it may appear in the image, as one large swirl moving counter-clockwise, the two storms are actually moving in separate directions. The dust storm is moving southwest and pushing sands southward through Mauritania and towards the southern border of the Western Sahara. On the other hand, the other storm is moving northwest across the Strait of Gibraltar and southern Spain. This movement can be observed by clicking on the animated images to the left.