Citizens in parts of Turkey began their week surrounded by mud on Monday. While seasonal rains continued throughout the country, experts warned the citizens against mud rains caused by desert dust that blew over from Africa.
Desert dust, which started blowing earlier Sunday and will continue until Wednesday, is invisible to the eye but is harmful to the respiratory system.
According to Hüseyin Toros, a professor of meteorological engineering at Istanbul Technical University (ITÜ), the desert dust in Africa rose to the atmosphere due to strong winds before it was brought to Turkey by southerly winds. Invisible dust appears as mud rains.
"Desert dust has a rich content of minerals and fragments of old rock particles. Exposure to the dust can cause damage to the respiratory system. But desert dust is a food source for the ecological system. We see it as a natural fertilizer for plants for the greenery around us. In the past, people called these rains 'rains of abundance' because they provided fertilizer, which is the basic need of plants," he said.
Toros warned people about the possible effects of mud rains on the respiratory system and driving safety. He suggested not to leave home unless it is necessary. "Desert dust can cause reductions in drivers' visibility. It may also cause broadcast interruptions in radio and TV channels. These are natural processes. We will be heavily affected by desert dust until Wednesday, it is better to be careful and cautious. I suggest everyone not to go out unless you have to."
Sunday night brought mud rains to several cities of Turkey, especially those near Aegean shores. Many people flocked to auto wash in Muğla, Izmir, Istanbul and Kocaeli to get their cars cleaned up.
Experts warn the public that strong rains are expected in Marmara, Aegean and Thrace regions on Monday.
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