What is rain of blood

Saharan dust 2021 - what drivers should watch out for in case of blood rain

Desert sand in Germany? Yes! Even if it sounds unusual at first, it is not that rare that certain weather constellations cause dust from the Sahara to reach us in Central Europe. The weather phenomenon becomes visible through clouded light in the sky and fine red sand dust, which, depending on the region, shows up on snow, windows and cars, for example. If then the Saharan dust meets precipitation in the air, "Rain of blood" from heaven. You can find out what exactly this is and what drivers should pay attention to here.

How does the Saharan dust get to Germany?

High wind speeds quickly transport sand particles from the African desert from the ground to great heights and then often over long distances. High to medium-high cloud fields and southerly winds then ensure that Saharan dust reaches Germany, which is thousands of kilometers away. Several million tons of Saharan dust circulate through the atmosphere over North Africa, the North Atlantic and Europe, according to the German Weather Service (DWD).

How long does the Saharan dust last?

At the beginning of March, southerly winds caused a wave of Saharan dust in the atmosphere, especially in southern and central Germany, explain the meteorologists from Wetter.net. The desert dust clouded the air significantly, dampened the sun's rays and made for a pale, milky-looking sun. Polar air from the northwest and rain drove the dusty air away in the following days. The consequence of this change in weather is the so-called "blood rain".

What is "blood rain" or "red rain" and how does it come about?

The martial-sounding term blood rain is a term for precipitation that is colored red or reddish-brownish by desert dust. The rain washes the sand and dust particles out of the atmosphere, making it look brownish to reddish, explains weather expert Dominik Jung.

In Central Europe, the blood rain particles come from the sand of the Sahara desert. Especially in spring, high wind speeds and storms keep getting desert dust into the earth's atmosphere, which reaches our latitudes and here, in connection with precipitation, leads to this interesting weather phenomenon.

By the way:

Blood rain is by no means a modern phenomenon. Sources from antiquity and the Middle Ages already report on it. In the past, the reddish colored rain was considered a bad omen - a sign of famine or war.

Is the rain of blood dangerous?

Around 1.8 billion tons of mineral dust enter the atmosphere every year in the northern hemisphere, almost two thirds of which is sand from the Sahara. Due to their size and mineral composition - including iron oxides and quartz - the particles are not directly dangerous to health. Nevertheless, the Saharan dust increases fine dust levels and deteriorates air quality, which puts more strain on the airways of sensitive people such as allergy sufferers and asthmatics.


The circulating Saharan dust not only blows to us in the north, but also spreads over a large area in all directions - with positive consequences. Because of the minerals it contains, it is a kind of fertilizer for the South American jungle and the oceans.

Are Saharan dust and blood rain dangerous for my car?

The desert sand consists of mineral particles that are very small but can still leave traces. The ADAC draws attention to the consequences that fine desert sand can have on car paintwork and pollen filters. The experts recommend a visit to the car wash so that the dust does not burn into the paint when exposed to sunlight. Simply rubbing with a cloth by hand can act like a kind of sandpaper in connection with the particles and damage the paintwork as well as the chrome and glass surfaces. Similar to bird droppings, this paintwork damage would not be covered by fully comprehensive insurance. Therefore: act quickly and correctly!

In addition, after professional washing, the covered sheet metal surfaces should be reworked with a damp cloth. A test wipe over the dashboard with a light-colored cloth shows whether an interior cleaning is also necessary.

The pollen filter should also be checked. If it has not been changed for a long time, it can now be overfilled by the dust particles and possibly release them into the interior instead of filtering the air.

Conclusion: Even if the name sounds creepy, the rain of blood isn't really dangerous. The unpleasant film of dust usually does not have any unpleasant consequences for your vehicle if you visit the car wash as soon as possible.

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