Saharan dust returns to the United States this week


The dust is expected to improve as you move through Florida this week, but it's likely to get worse as it hits the Texas and Louisiana shores.

The dust will also remain in place throughout much of the Caribbean and Mexico.

"Last week's dust concentration was historic. This week's dust is much more typical than what we see in any given year," says CNN meteorologist Judson Jones.

Saharan dust travels to the United States each year. Wind and thunderstorms lift it into the atmosphere in Africa as it begins a 5,000-mile journey to the Caribbean and the United States. This year is the worst in decades.

Dust can whiten the sky, causing poor air quality, as seen in this before and after photo of Flagler Beach, Florida, last Friday.
This next round of dust isn't expected to be as dense as the last, but it will still be bad enough to bother some with allergies and asthma. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the powder can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

"By the time the dust cloud reaches the US, most of the largest grains have fallen off due to gravity. What remains are the smallest particles known as PM2.5. They are the most dangerous to breathe in the lungs, "said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers says.

However, there are some positives to Saharan dust. One is to limit the development of tropical systems in the Atlantic due to the dry air surrounding the dust.

Plus, you can create some of the most eye-catching sunrises and sunsets. According to CNN meteorologist Haley Brink, "Dust particles in the atmosphere can scatter sunlight and create some of the most vivid sunsets."

The powder should improve at the end of the week.


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