SAN ANTONIO – Every year, typically from June through September, tons of dust from the Saharan desert in Africa is transported thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. (To be precise, 182 million tons of dust is lifted into the air each year -- that’s 689,290 semi truck loads of dust!) This dust, made of very fine particulates of minerals, is transported by the trade winds near the Earth’s equator. The dust is lofted high into the atmosphere, creating a faint, orange-brownish haze to the sky.
Sometimes, this dust makes it all the way to San Antonio. This is NOT like a dust or sandstorm people experience out west. Any effects will be nuanced and only have noticeable, irritating effects for those who are sensitive to it -- especially for those who suffer from respiratory issues.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the Saharan dust:
- We’ll begin to experience our first bout of dust this week (June 22nd - June 27th)
- An initial plume is expected to arrive on Tuedsay, June 23rd
- A second, much larger plume will settle in on Thursday, June 25th
- You may experience allergy-like symptoms this week as this dust arrives
- It’s important to note that times of dust in Texas see ebbs and flows, so some days and weeks are worse than others
- When dust is particularly high, you can actually see it as an orange-brownish haze on the horizon during the day
- The dust also helps create very photogenic sunsets in the evenings
Related Video: San Antonio allergist issues warning regarding Saharan dust
You Weather Authority will continue to keep you updated on the arrival of Saharan dust this week. Get the latest forecast here.