First Alert: Saharan dust arrives in the ArkLaTex Friday

First Alert: Saharan dust arrives in the ArkLaTex Friday
A hazy ArkLaTex sunset caused by Saharan dust (Source: KSLA)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A plume of dust from the Saharan desert that moved west off of Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean more than a week ago will arrive in the ArkLaTex on Friday and last through Saturday. This is a fairly common event with dust from Africa arriving in the U.S. 2 or 3 times each summer on average.

This dust plume has been making it’s way across the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico since the weekend. Here’s a picture from Puerto Rico from Sunday compared with what it looked like before the dust arrived:

While it may not be that dramatic here in the ArkLaTex, there may be a noticeable brown haze in the air by the end of the week. A plume of dust produced this hazy sunset a couple of summers ago in Shreveport:

A hazy ArkLaTex sunset caused by Saharan dust
A hazy ArkLaTex sunset caused by Saharan dust (Source: KSLA)

Futuretrack shows the thickest part of the dust plume building in through the day Friday.

Futuretrack shows Saharan dust arriving on Friday
Futuretrack shows Saharan dust arriving on Friday (Source: KSLA)

We’ll see the thickest part of the plume last through Saturday afternoon.

Futuretrack shows Saharan dust hanging around into Saturday
Futuretrack shows Saharan dust hanging around into Saturday (Source: KSLA)

By Sunday the dust should be dispersing and moving out of the ArkLaTex.

Futuretrack shows Saharan dust moving out on Sunday
Futuretrack shows Saharan dust moving out on Sunday (Source: KSLA)

The main impacts will be noticeably hazy sunrises and sunsets. If you have a respiratory condition like asthma, any dust that settles to the ground will lower the air quality and may make it more difficult to breathe. You may want to limit your time outdoors while the dust is here. On a positive note the dry air associated with the dust suppresses tropical development which is one of the reasons why the Gulf, Caribbean and central Atlantic Ocean are free of any tropical systems right now.

Typical impacts from Saharan dust
Typical impacts from Saharan dust (Source: KSLA)

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