Saharan dust — literally dust blown off the Sahara Desert in Africa — is a common weather condition in the summer months across the Atlantic Basin. Huge plumes of the dust blow out across the waters of the Atlantic sometimes traveling all the way across to the United States. In most years, it might make it far enough to cause some minor irritation or perhaps even a lovely sunset. It even tends to inhibit hurricanes by blocking out the sun. This year, however, could be quite different.
In 2020, like most other things, the dust cloud over the Atlantic is substantially larger and more dense than usual. Some are predicting it could be the worst Saharan dust storm in the United States in 50 years.
The initial wave of dusty air particles should reach Houston by Wednesday with the worst of it showing up this weekend. If you are wondering what this sort of thing looks like, the guys at Space City Weather re-tweeted this on Monday:
Ok, last dust pic for today and this one is perhaps the most incredible yet. The comparison photos were sent to me from Mirco Ferro who lives in St. Barthelemy. Check the dates in the photos (top is from March) - both are unfiltered or altered in any way. #SAL #DUST pic.twitter.com/FBwOG5ly1E— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) June 21, 2020
That means anyone with allergies may want to consider staying inside as much as possible this weekend. It probably won't be quite that bad, but it is going to be very hazy and should cause all sorts of issues for allergy and asthma sufferers. As if we needed atmospheric conditions that causes restricted breathing issues right now.