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UK residents have been warned they may see 'blood rain' this coming week.
After a week of glorious sun, a few scatterings of rain, but generally merry May weather, the warning of 'blood rain' makes it sound like the UK should now prepare itself for potential real-life horror movie scenes.
The effects of such a menacing-sounding name may not be literal splashes of viscous scarlet liquid raining from the sky, but red or orange tinted rain could be set to fall in some parts of the country.
Aerosol forecasts from #CopernicusAtmosphere observed another large plume of #SaharanDust moving across the Atlantic between 12-17 May and heading towards the Caribbean.— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) May 16, 2022
The forecast shows a strong plume predicted to reach western Europe on 20 & 21 May
➡️ https://t.co/tBveTTMaJu pic.twitter.com/1sCD2eBQK6
The Met Office describes 'blood rain' as 'when there is red-coloured rain falling from the sky'.
The red or orange colour occurs when 'relatively high concentrations of red coloured dust or particles get mixed into rain'.
The Met Office states: "In the case of blood rain, strong winds or storms can whip up dust and sand. As this becomes airborne it can get caught up in atmospheric circulation, where it can be carried for thousands of miles.
"Eventually the dust will either fall out of the sky due to gravity or will be caught up in rain clouds, where it mixes with the water droplets. When these fall as rain the raindrops could appear red."
Due to the high concentration of red dust or particles needed to turn the rain red, incidents of blood rain are 'relatively rare'.
The Met Office also noted the term isn't actually 'meteorological or scientific' but a 'colloquial phrase' and is often used in the UK in a 'much more loose' sense.
It explained: "Each year on several occasions the UK will see rain falling with some amount of dust mixed into it. This usually comes from the Sahara before mixing in clouds and falling out.
"However, the dust we see is usually yellow or brown and mixed in very low concentrations - so the rain would look just the same as usual. The only difference would be that you might find a thin film of dust on your car or windows after the water has evaporated."
Several yellow thunderstorm warnings have also been issued by the Met Office for areas in the south-east of the country.
The warnings are listed as currently lasting from today (18 May) until tomorrow.
The Met Office's Richard Miles told PA news agency: "There are some dust concentrations in the atmosphere above the UK at present which might well be washed out in the rain tonight, but it’s likely to be relatively small amounts on the whole.
"There’s a warning out for thunderstorms for the south-eastern third of England tonight, and a squally cold front will bring wind and sometimes heavy rain to Northern Ireland and north west Scotland this evening.
"Away from these features it will be mostly fine and dry today and tomorrow, temperatures up to 23-24C in London and the South East, high teens or low 20s elsewhere."
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