Cars in Devon and Cornwall were left coated in a thin film of Sahara dust this weekend thanks to a wind from the South East and light rain.
The yellow-red mineral powder is generally scooped up as winds cross the Sahara Desert in North Africa then carried across the sea.
It mixes with rain clouds and, as this weekend, is brought down in light rain showers leaving cars coated in a thin grime.
The odd shower appears to have hit south and west Devon, Cornwall and Ireland this weekend.
Experts say a sandstorm over Algeria last week saw the sand launched high into the atmosphere.
Emma Sharples, duty meteorologist at the Met Office in Exeter, said: “This does happen, it has happened before, but you need the combination of elements.
“The sandstorm in the Saharan region, the wind from the south/south-east, and the right sort of rain.
“You need a light rain, not too much – just enough to bring it down and then when it dries out it leaves that residue on cars.
“It’s probably because the rain is not that heavy that it does not get brought down and washed off straight away.
“Of course it isn’t dangerous. The most it’s going to be is an inconvenience to people who have it on their clean cars.”