African dust becomes thicker Thursday, Friday

Weather Talk

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The first wave of African dust has arrived in East Texas. We’ve had hazy skies that were noticeable across the area on Wednesday, and Thursday it looks to increase even more.

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.

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. TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) says that the thickest dust will stay in South Texas and along the coast, but our air quality will stay in the moderate category for the remainder of the week.

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.”

As far as tropical development, the Atlantic Basin is staying quiet for now. Going into August and especially September & October, tropical activity is expected to increase.

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