Saharan dust will settle on Texas this week, impacting Austin air quality
Air quality in Texas has recently been affected by smoke, but we could be tracking a different kind of air pollutant this week.
Saharan dust is currently moving across the Atlantic Ocean, headed toward Texas.
This occurrence isn't out of the ordinary. Each year, we monitor plumes of Saharan dusts moving toward the U.S. It travels all the way across the Atlantic Ocean for the west coast of Africa. Storms in Africa create strong winds, which help blow the dust into the air. The trade winds then carry this dust across the ocean to the U.S.
What does this mean for Texans? The most noticeable thing would be the haziness caused from dust suspended in the air. We could also see negative impacts to our air quality.
Those with chronic lung conditions might want to consider limiting time outdoors for the back half of the workweek. The current timeline shows dust arriving in portions of Texas on Wednesday, July 5.
Dust in the air actually has some pros to our weather pattern. Most importantly, the dust lowers moisture in the air over the tropics, which is a crucial ingredient for the formation of tropical systems. Another interesting effect of dust in the atmosphere is more intense sunrises and sunsets.
It's important to note that dust lingering in the air will be dependent on our rain chances in Central Texas. Any rainfall could wash the dust out of the air and improve our air quality.
Read the full story and get a detailed look at this week's forecast at KVUE.com.