Various regions of Turkey are experiencing extreme weather conditions this week, with the Turkish State Meteorological Service having warned some Aegean provinces and Istanbul that dust clouds will be heading in from North Africa.
In some Aegean and Mediterranean provinces, the speed of the windstorms will start from 60 km and reach up to 80 km per hour.
Roofs may collapse, trees may tumble down and there may be incidents of natural gas poisoning, the meteorology authority said in a tweet on April 18, urging residents to take precautions.
Apart from precipitation and storm risks, the meteorologists also warned against dust that could likely sweep into the provinces of Istanbul, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Yalova, Afyonkarahisar, Denizli, Uşak, Eskişehir and Bursa.
According to data from U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), each year more than 180 million tons of dust blow out from North Africa and are lofted out of the Sahara Desert by strong seasonal winds.
“We expect a heavy amount of dust coming from the Sahara Desert this week,” said Prof Doğan Yaşar, warning residents to wear masks to protect themselves.
“We cannot see these dusts when we inhale them. The surplus amount of magnesium and calcium in these dusts may cause health problems,” he warned.
He also said that with the precipitation, these dusts may turn into mud.
Separately, firefighters battled to contain forest fires that erupted in southwestern and western Turkey.
In the Eşme district of the western province of Uşak, two houses and a barn were burned down.
Experts are monitoring the loss in the fires extinguished in the Bodrum, Kavaklıdere and Menteşe districts of the southwestern province of Muğla.
Hurriyet Daily News