Saharan dust returns to Texas this weekend

Those around San Antonio who have respiratory issues may experience minor symptoms

Summer months bring times of Saharan dust to Texas
Summer months bring times of Saharan dust to Texas

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).

The Saharan dust outlook for Friday, July 23, 2021 (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

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.


About the Authors:

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT long before she began to think about a career in television.

Kaiti Blake is a child weather-geek-turned-meteorologist. A member of the KSAT Weather Authority, Kaiti is a co-host of the Whatever the Weather video podcast. After graduating from Texas Tech University, Kaiti worked at WJTV 12 in Jackson, Mississippi and KTAB in Abilene.