Holidaymakers warned about Sahara sand haze hitting the Canary Islands

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

North East holidaymakers who are planning a trip to the Canary Islands are being warned about an unusual phenomenon.

Sand storms, known in Spanish as 'The Calima', bury the islands in dusty winds blown in from the Sahara - and the storms a growing more intense. The warning comes a day after a measles warning in Tenerife

According to the Express, since 1980, the islands have seen 483 episodes of Calima, meaning that the yearly average is 24 affected days per year. Each episode lasts an average of 1.8 days.

There is however some good news for Brits heading to the Canaries this summer: the most intense storms take place in January and February. So if you are jetting off to Tenerife, Gran Canaria or one of the other islands, the chances are you shouldn't see the worst storms of the year. That said, the Canaries government have already issued pre-alert status for calima four times this year.

However, that doesn't mean your flights won't be impacted. In February 2020, a severe calima saw all eight airports across the archipelago shut causing travel chaos and ruining people's holiday plans.

If you find yourself in the midst of a calima, experts advise people to remain indoors with doors and windows shut, drink plenty of liquids and wear face masks if they need to go out. Weather expert and co-author of the upcoming book Surviving Extreme Weather, Jim Dale, told "It’s not that heat and dust in suspension will be there on every occasion, but any airstream moving west of the Sahara (normally) will carry the risk.

"We are living in a changed world and visitors would do well to take note of the local warnings and what to do if caught up in such conditions."