HARMATTAN

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HARMATTAN ; a wind which blows periodically from the interior parts of Africa, towards the Atlantic ocean. It prevails in December, January and February, and is generally accompanied with a fog or haze, that conceals the sun for whole days together. Extreme dryness is the characteristic of this wind; no dew falls during its continuance, which is sometimes for a fortnight or more. The whole vegetable creation is withered, and the grass becomes, at once, like hay. The human body is also affected by it, so that the skin peels off; but it checks infection, and cures cutaneous diseases.