Every morning when I wake up, I trudge to the window and peek outside at the weather. When I did this on Monday, the world was in sepia. A bizarre, yellow hue covered buildings, cars and streets. My sleep-fuddled mind thought perhaps the world was finally coming to an end; Earth had reached the end of her tether with the deadly human virus and was expelling us once and for all.
On my way to uni, I half-expected to see zombies staggering around. It was 9:30am, but the sun was nowhere to be seen. In the canteen all I could hear was talk of the sky and how long we all had left to live. This carried on for some time, until eventually the sky turned blue again. Strangely, the day turned into a beautiful one, and by the time I was walking home it was the warmest October afternoon in a while.
As many people soon realised, the cause of the red sun and yellow sky was Hurricane Ophelia, making her presence known everywhere possible by pulling with her a torrent of dust and tropical air from the Sahara. According to BBC weatherman Simon King, these clouds of dust meant shorter wavelengths of blue light were scattered, giving the sun its red hue.
That wasn’t all in Monday’s sky cocktail. According to the Met Office, the “vast majority” of the dust was an accumulation of debris from forest fires in Spain and Portugal, hitching a ride with Ophelia and spreading north.
So not quite the apocalypse that most of Twitter was anticipating, but the truth is terrifying enough. Hundreds of people have been sharing photos of the red sun and commenting on the weird and whacky events, but the cause of this phenomenon was a hurricane that has claimed three lives and left nearly 400,000 homes without power or running water… and that’s just in Ireland.
It’s easy to forget how devastating natural events like hurricanes are when they’re hitting thousands of miles away. But the aftermath of this storm is still very much a threat in the UK too. The damage that this hurricane, and that of Irma, Jose, and all the countless others should not be shrugged off as a pretty and peculiar occurrence.