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. The dust particles are very fine and will only have noticeable, irritating effects for those who are sensitive to it -- especially for those who suffer from respiratory issues.
Latest Saharan Dust Outlook
Another plume of Saharan dust is expected to arrive in South Central Texas from the Gulf of Mexico by the start of the upcoming weekend. Specifically, there will be an increase in the Saharan dust layer in San Antonio from Friday (7/23/2021) through Sunday (7/25/2021).
Here’s what you need to know to prepare for Saharan dust:
- You may experience allergy-like symptoms
- The air may become unhealthy for those who have respiratory issues
- 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
Your Weather Authority will continue to keep you updated on the arrival of Saharan dust this week. Get the latest forecast here.