JUST days ago it was part of the world’s biggest desert.

Now Hampshire motorists are cleaning dust from the Sahara off their cars.

Thousands of people across the county woke up yesterday to find the sand all over their windscreens and bonnets.

It was kicked up by a huge sand storm in the Sahara desert in northern Africa and then deposited across the county thanks to strong winds.

The storm, in the western region of the desert, 2,000 miles away, swept up a large amount of sand and dust into the atmosphere. The dust was caught in the rain droplets in clouds and spread westwards into the Atlantic Ocean before moving over large areas of the UK on Sunday night and yesterday morning.

Rain fell across much of the country, including Hampshire, London, the South East and the South West. When the water evaporated a thin layer of dust was left on surfaces, including those of cars.

Paul Hutcheon, deputy chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: “We usually see this happen several times a year, particularly in summer when you get these big dust storms in the western Sahara and the southerly winds to bring that dust here.”

People in Hampshire could well have woken up to more dust this morning, with more showers predicted overnight.