Saharan dust plume heads to USA skies this weekend

Gulf satellite Thursday afternoon 6/25

A Massive Dust Cloud Is Headed to the St. Louis Area

We are not yet privy to any new findings by the scientists, however, we note that experts have said the size and concentration of this year's dust has been the largest seen in half a century.

Nevertheless, health experts say it still poses risks to people with respiratory problems.

What is the Saharan Air Layer? It occurs every summer, ' said NWS meteorologist Patrick Blood. And while the "Godzilla dust cloud" can create a lovely sky, it can also be a bit of a hazard.

Some islands in the Caribbean that track particulates indicate it is 1 of the worst considering that the 1970s. Another large cloud is coming off the African continent, continuing to feed the long chain of dust traveling across the Atlantic.

Across the southeastern US, from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas and possibly as far north as Indianapolis and Cincinnati, dust results will probably be noticeable in the coming days.

Moving slowly through the United States, a dust storm that originated in the Sahara may impact local air-quality conditions.

On satellite imagery, dust plumes are typically hard to spot.

Saharan dust in Atlantic
More dust from Africa was moving across the Atlantic on Thursday and approaching the Caribbean

"That's because the sunlight is actually going through those (dust) particles and it will produce those vivid sunrises and sunsets".

Typically blue skies turned into a milky-brown haze and Jamaica's Blue Mountains, usually seen towering over Kingston, were hidden behind a white cloud.

We know that public health officials are particularly anxious about the dust from the Sahara because it has been found to be the largest contributor to mineral dust - a major component of particulate matter - in the atmosphere.

Many health specialists are concerned about those battling respiratory symptoms tied to COVID-19.

"If you live in an area where potentially you're getting more inflammation in your lungs from the Saharan dust, then you're also exposed to COVID, it may set you up to be more susceptible to either getting the infection or for having more severe consequences of getting the infection", Matsui said.

"Reaching as far west as Texas is very unusual".

In Florida, new daily cases surged to 5,508 Wednesday - a 25 percent jump from its previous record of 4,049 on June 20. People were warned to stay indoors, wear face masks, and use air filters.

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