The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Red sun in the afternoon!


By balcony


How many of you saw the red sun in the afternoon today? I was on the balcony “ringing the changes” & I noticed that the sky was a funny colour of orangey brown & the sun was just a bright, very bright, fuzzy ball in the sky.

Later, perhaps around 4 pm, I went into our kitchen & I looked out the window & lo & behold there was a very bright RED sun hanging in the sky right in front of our place! So I went & called my wife & she called her brother & the three of us gazed for a few minutes at the spectacle in the sky!

The three of us thought there must be dust in the air & it reminded us of a metrological phenomenon in Spain called “Calima”, which is where dust is blown over the peninsula from the Sahara Desert. You get the same kind of effect in the sky as we had here today.

At 3.30 pm today we had to turn the lights on as it was so dark in the house! It seemed like we were about to have a heavy downpour!

I took a couple of photos with my phone’s camera but they didn’t come out at all red & I scrapped them.

I think it has been confirmed that this was indeed a Calima caused by the strong winds from ex-hurricane Ophelia bringing fine dust from the Sahara Desert. Perhaps there were some smoke particles from the terrible forest fires of Spain & Portugal mixed in too. I read this morning that Ophelia had whipped up the flames even more with its very strong winds as it came up from the Azores towards Ireland bordering the coasts of Portugal & Spain.

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Tradescantia (Spiderwort, Wandering Jew) on balcony & in kitchen

Next post: Amaryllis bulbs have now been moved



I forgot to mention the strong winds we have here all evening - though nothing like the strength of the wind in Ireland or the West coast of the UK & Scotland. It was quite a nuisance when I was trying to change the soil in my troughs of the balcony. It kept blowing the soil around & getting it in my eyes & throat. It has left me with an irritation in my chest this evening.

16 Oct, 2017


No way could I have changed any soil outdoors today! Rarely seen such wind for so long. Don't remember seeing any sun at all. It blew some of my baby hedging plants right out of their pots. Happily the plants survived but goodness knows where the pots went to!

16 Oct, 2017


Yes I got photos I turned the camera on my phone to cloudy and it captured it when I tried normal I got nothing to begin with. It has affected my chest to Balcony.

16 Oct, 2017


it was orangey red from about 11 am and stayed like it for hours. at one point the sky had the snow filled cloud look to it. very ethereal . you can understand why ancient cultures believed in the supernatural.

17 Oct, 2017


I didn't think of that Balcony. When I lived in Tenerife, we used to have the Sirocco winds from Africa which carry dust and sand. It played havoc with my asthma and I often walked backwards so as not to be facing into the wind or better still stayed inside. I always thought the heat of it was like a hairdryer blowing in your face.

17 Oct, 2017


It was all over the news on TV & papers this morning! Carol, the weather presenter on BBC Breakfast this morning gave an explanation & part of what I said seems is correct - about the wind bring sand from the Sahara Desert & smoke particles from the forest fires in Spain & Portugal.

They showed us some good photos of the red sun & the leaden skies sent in by weatherwatchers.

When I lived in Spain the "Calima" could last for days at a time with everything becoming coated in a very fine golden dust! It was horrible weather & the best one could do was to try & stay in the house as much as possible.

The irritation in my chest has receded a little but I still find myself "clearing" my throat at times & a slight burning sensation in the centre of my chest. In a day or two, I should be back to normal again.

17 Oct, 2017


Might have been wiser to postpone the potting procedures till the wind dropped, Balcony... did anyone else notice the sunlight itself was pink? Where it hit my sitting room carpet and table, it looked distinctly pink, which was what made me look outside to see what was going on in the sky.. and it was still pink today, though we only had sun for about 5 minutes.

17 Oct, 2017


Its forcast to return tomorrow Wednesday Balcony my windows closed and I wont be going out side tomorrow thats foe sure I am still wheezing from it.

17 Oct, 2017


The garden looked stunning, all glowing, with the tree branches all bronze and russet. Took images but they don't do the phenomenon justice. When the skies were a threatening black intermingled with that strange reddish glow it made me think of the film "Independence Day" when the Alien ship arrived.

Hope all is well with you now, Balcony.

18 Oct, 2017


Here Tuesday was clear & sunny though cooler than Monday. I was able to finish what I had been doing on the balcony during the day on Monday. But there won't be any photos this time around as I didn't take any!

Today, Wednesday has been a wet, cold day & we haven't seen even a glimpse of the sun! It has rained lightly on & off all day so I was glad I was able to finish my balcony on Tuesday.

It's been the same sort of day in Spain, though on the south-east coast they haven't noticed much difference. A cousin of my wife's lives in Valencia & told us via WhatsApp this morning they were still walking around in shirtsleeves! Other family members in other parts of Spain, like Madrid & Cuenca, told us it was cold & raining where they lived!

I hope the fall in temps & the colder weather will help those who are fighting the forest fires in Spain & Portugal to control them & avoid more loss of life & homes.

18 Oct, 2017


It's not exactly cold here, but its certainly noticeably colder than it's been, and we had similar weather to yours today, Balcony - overcast, rain, fairly still, touch of fog early evening, now cleared. But Saturday's not looking good in my area - high winds warning, though hopefully nothing like Ophelia. Just as well its not for Friday, the 45 foot horse chestnut is finally being removed in the gardens here that day - its had canker for some years, and now its been deemed unsafe. There's a few squirrels roundabout who'll be very disconcerted by its absence!

18 Oct, 2017


We had our red sun very early. By about 10 a.m. we had bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine, which lasted most of the day.

19 Oct, 2017


How did your Horse Chestnut tree survive the storms we have had in the course of this year?

It's a shame when mature specimens of a tree have to be cut down but if it has a disease that makes it dangerous to keep then the best option is to cut it down.

You spoke about the local squirrels missing it well just this morning, while on my way up to the pharmacy to collect our prescriptions, I saw a black squirrel! This was the first time I'd ever seen a BLACK squirrel! I've seen plenty of greys & even a few red ones, in Cuenca, Spain, in a park close to our flat over there, but I'd never, ever seen one that was as black as the Ace of Spades!

I had time to observe it as it came bounding down the path in my direction. At first, I wondered if it was a cat but its way of moving didn't seem like a cat's. As the distance decreased between us it must have suddenly seen me as well for it made a sharp turn to the bushes & trees that line the path & disappeared from sight. But during the 2-3seconds it took to fly out of sight I got a good enough look at it to see it was totally black with no sign of any other colour - it most certainly was not a dark grey but totally, completely BLACK! I'd heard of these colour squirrels but I never expected to see one here - nor so close up - probably no more than 50 feet between us when it disappeared into the hedgerow.

Unlike you, Hywel, we never got to see blue skies all day long. Though the sky may have been clear about 7am when we got up I'm not sure now. When I took our granddaughter to school just after 8.30am the wind was starting to pick up but it was still rather chilly.

It was the middle of the afternoon really before I realized something was not quite right with the sky & sun & the "feeling" of the day. Inside the flat we had to turn on the lights around 3pm it was so dark! Around 4pm I noticed the red sun & then the air just became sort of "misty", which I now realize was the fine dust from the Sahara Desert in suspension, or "Calima" as they call it in Spain.

Hang on to your hat or braces or at least something sturdy as they forecast a "weather bomb" developing in the Atlantic before bringing more hurricane-strength winds to the UK for Saturday. Ireland & South Wales will bear the initial brunt of the winds as well!

19 Oct, 2017


Oh dear, poor Ireland and Wales, but we have severe weather warnings here for Saturday too... as for the tree, they've been checking it annually for the last 6 years, and only now does it need to be removed. Its grown every year, produces plenty of conkers, but always looks dreadful by July because of Horse Chestnut leaf blotch.There are two Acers behind it, so we won't be entirely treeless, but I'll miss it nonetheless.

19 Oct, 2017


I wonder if we'll feel the next storm. We didn't have the last one here. It must be a very sheltered spot, or the weather forecasters were wrong.

19 Oct, 2017


Let's hope then that you don't feel it this time either!

20 Oct, 2017

Add a comment

Recent posts by balcony

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    20 Jan, 2014

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Mar, 2012

  • Gardening with friends since
    2 Nov, 2009