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Spain closes airports on Canary Islands due to sand storm

Cars drive on the TF-1 highway during a sandstorm in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, on February 23, 2020. - Airports on Spain's Canary Islands were closed after strong winds carrying red sand from the Sahara shrouded the tourist hotspot. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP) (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images)

MADRID — Spanish authorities said Sunday that they have closed airports on the Canary Islands because of a wind storm that is blinding the archipelago with sand and dust.

Spain’s airport authorities said that incoming planes have been rerouted to other destinations and no flights are being allowed to leave airports on the islands’ airports.

The regional government for the Canary Islands says that wind gusts could reach 120 kph (around 75 mph). Authorities have closed schools for Monday.

Television images show palm trees whipping in the wind amid a thick yellow haze enveloping the islands.

The storm phenomenon, locally known as “calima,” is capable of lifting up clouds of sand and dust from the Sahara desert and transporting them across the 95 kilometers (59 miles) separating the islands from the African coast.

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