Thousands of residents and tourists who had never experienced a calima before were treated to a doozie in late February, and homeowners were left with a wearying task once the dust settled.
Overall, an estimated 21,000 tonnes of dust was dumped on the island of Lanzarote after a dust storm arrived from the Sahara desert a hundred miles to the east. Visibility was seriously reduced and the dust also arrived with the uncomfortably hot weather that usually marks this phenomena. However, this time the calima was accompanied by high winds and rough seas.
You can tell a calima is over by the queues at the carwashes (and residents swear you can cause one by washing your car in the first place), but the real victims are the cleaning staff all over the island who are faced with a serious job of sweeping, spraying and mopping.
Lanzarote’s white colour scheme certainly doesn’t help hide the dust, and many properties have a permanently reddish tinge until the next rain shower (although rain during a calima usually just makes matters much worse).
The quickest way to clean off your patio, your aljibe, your roof or whatever part of your property is under a film of dust is to hose it down. Get a decent nozzle attachment that allows you to direct powerful jets where you most want them, and try and do the job efficiently so you don’t waste water. If you can save the water, use it to give plants and trees a treat.
Of course, this only really works if the places you’re hosing down are watertight, so make sure you get that sorted before the next calima arrives.