Dust from Africa arrives Friday

Weather Talk

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Dust from the Sahara desert has entered the Gulf of Mexico and East Texas will see this dust late Thursday into Friday. This is expected to be the worst dust seen in our sky in quite a while.

AFRICAN DUST ORIGINATION

This dust comes from the Sahara Desert in northern Africa. The strong winds at the surface lift the fine particles into the upper levels of the atmosphere and send it across the Atlantic Ocean and into the United States.

Here is a current look at where the dust is located now.

THE POSITIVE TO THE DUST

There are a few exciting things about this Saharan dust. We are able to see beautiful sky conditions for sunrise and sunset.

Another positive—lower tropical development in the Atlantic Ocean. This dust is transported by fast-moving winds between 5,000 and 25,000 feet. This means that as winds are stronger over the water, the less-likely chance that tropical development can occur. This layer of enhanced mid-level winds sending this train of dust into the Atlantic keeps the development of tropical systems off the coast of Africa slim to none.

NASA says “strong area of high altitude winds commonly called the African Easterly Jet. If these winds were constant, we would also experience fewer hurricanes.”

THE NEGATIVE OF THIS DUST

The African dust can be harmful to those with allergies and asthma—so it’s important to make sure you are taking it easy when outdoors. With this round of dust, there are indications that this could be a significant dust event.

Dr. Suman Sinha, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine with Christus Trinity Clinics says this dust can lead to nasal congestion, watery eyes, cough with mucus. Wearing your mask can help reduce intake via the mouth of the dust.

AIR QUALITY FORECAST

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality forecasts East Texas (Tyler-Longview region) and Deep East Texas (Beaumont-Port Arthur region) to be in the moderate index. Their discussion mentions the possible upgrade to level orange if conditions warrant. You can read the discussion here.

Read more here about the African dusts impact on other countries in the Gulf of Mexico here.

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