Hurricane Ophelia Is Bathing The U.K in a Weird Red Light

sun
The sun over Keele University's observatory south of Manchester, England, bathed the region in a weird reddish glow due to particulates carried on the winds of ex-Hurricane Ophelia. Courtesy of Keele University

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at midday, hurricane on the way? The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Ireland on Monday, but the storm's winds have created an eerie effect throughout England.

Keele University posted a tweet showing a reddish sun over the school's observatory, located about 40 miles south of Manchester, England. Several others have posted similar observations as well.

"Visibility did not drop to dangerous levels for traffic to be at risk, because much of the cloud was above our heads, but some fog did lie low and it looked like we were immersed in a "pumpkin-like soup," Jacco van Loon, the observatory director, told Newsweek.

Dramatic skies above Stonehenge today as #Ophelia makes itself known.
What would our ancestors have made of the #redsun? pic.twitter.com/Z12nfCxgbr

— Stonehenge (@EH_Stonehenge) October 16, 2017

The national forecaster service in the U.K., the Met Office, confirmed that a combination of Saharan dust and particles from fires that continue to burn in Portugal are causing the effect.

"What's actually happened is that ex-Hurricane Ophelia, as it's gone up the west coast of Ireland, it's been pulling in air from further south in Europe and indeed from North Africa. That has brought unseasonably warm temperatures to the UK," said Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge. "The particles high up in the atmosphere have scattered some of the wavelengths of sunlight," he explained. The proportion of the wavelengths getting through the atmosphere has changed, creating the effect.

Has anyone else seen the #redsun over #Nottingham today? Here's a great pic of Uni Park from @UoNgradschool Insta. ☀️ pic.twitter.com/w9lsksrQcn

— Uni of Nottingham #WeAreUoN (@UniofNottingham) October 16, 2017

"We do get Saharan dust traveling to the U.K. We get it reasonably regularly," he said—maybe once a year in most places. "Normally the evidence is you get sand deposits left on cars overnight."

The fires in Portugal have killed at least 30 people, The New York Times reported. Ophelia has killed one person, according to the BBC.

This kind of effect has been seen in the U.S. after fires, too. Wildfires on the West Coast in 2015 were also associated with redder-than-usual sunsets, according to USA Today.

Other kinds of storms can change the colors of the sun and sky. Though many claim that a greenish sky means a tornado is coming, scientists aren't so sure that's true. Given the right conditions, the sky could go green for any old storm.

Regardless of the color of the sky, weather officials in Ireland are warning people to stay inside and avoid unnecessary travel as the storm passes through. Met Éireann, the Irish national weather service, noted that people should continue to check on the weather throughout the day. They also declared that Monday should be a "no bike day."

"Take extreme care," the service tweeted.