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African dust arrives Friday: What this means for the Coastal Bend?

Posted: 7:18 PM, Jun 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-26 20:18:57-04
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS9L9E1K3Tk?rel=0&showinfo=0]

You may have been hearing about “African dust” or “Saharan dust” moving into the region by Friday and lasting through the weekend. First of all, what is this "African dust" and how is it going to affect us in the Coastal Bend?

What is this “dust”?

The Sahara Desert takes up a lot of real estate in Northern Africa. Since it’s a desert, there’s plenty of sand and dust. Winds pick up over the desert and the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and blow this dust over the Atlantic. Most often, the dust just dissipates while over the ocean, but occasionally the winds push it across the Atlantic, into the Caribbean, and into the Gulf of Mexico. In this case, the dust will get pushed from the Gulf into the atmosphere over South Texas.

When will it arrive?

It’s looking like the dust will arrive by Friday and lasting through the weekend.

How will this affect us?

This won’t be like a dust storm by any means. The dust will just be in the air—mostly invisible when viewing closely. However, if you were to look far off, you will probably notice a slight haze to the sky or air. This will be because of the dust.

Additionally, for allergy sufferers, it is possible that the presence of dust in the air will aggravate your allergies.

Beyond that, just think—dust all the way from Africa has been picked up by the wind and transported thousands of miles to reach us here in North America. How amazing?

The rest of the week

We won’t have to deal with the dust for another few days so until then we’ll continue to see temperatures near 90 degrees and “feels like” temperatures near 100 degrees as the humidity remains strong.

We’ll also start to see the winds increase on Friday as a stronger onshore flow starts to pick up for the weekend.