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Strong winds to push dust clouds away

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Dust lingering over Cyprus for the past week is expected to dissipate Friday as strong winds clear the atmosphere, according to the Met Office.

In comments to CyBC TV, the head of the meteorological department Kleanthis Nicolaides said the dust cloud will gradually be leaving the island.

Nicolaides said that westerly winds would send the dust cloud to the east of the island.

“Dust clouds are common during the months of February to April.

“It will be leaving the island, but we could see another dust incident similar to this one in the next couple of months.”

He said a high-pressure weather system over Cyprus that increased discomfort levels will also be replaced by a colder front.

Maximum temperatures this week had reached an unusually high 30 degrees Celsius, but it will feel cooler.

But experts warn that high concentrations of dust are still observed in the atmosphere, according to measurements from ground Stations of the Air Quality Monitoring Network.

Cyprus continues to suffer from high levels of dust particles in the atmosphere for the ninth day in a row.

Earlier in the week, dust levels had reached three to four times above normal readings, with the Department of Labour Inspection issuing several warnings urging the public to stay indoors.

Vulnerable groups should avoid outdoor spaces since the fine respirable particles in dust may negatively affect human health.

Moreover, employers must take appropriate measures after assessing any risks their employees may face while working outdoors.

Hourly dust concentrations measured at 11:00 am in the following areas are

Nicosia:                              133.9 μg/m3

Limassol:                           124.8 μg/m3

Larnaca:                             107 μg/m3

Paralimni:                          115.6 μg/m3

Paphos:                              96 μg/m3

‘Dust’ refers to respirable particulate matter of a diameter smaller than 10 μm (PM10) in the air.

According to legislation, a limit value not to be exceeded is set for the daily average concentrations at 50 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter).

More information on the measured pollutant concentrations and real-time updates are available online at www.airquality.gov.cy and through the free mobile application “Air Quality Cyprus”.