The Saharan dust is back

Saharan dust arrives in Houston
Saharan dust arrives in Houston

If you’ve noticed the hazy skies from yesterday and today, you’re not alone!

Take a look at today’s cover photo of League City yesterday. The Saharan dust is back and while it may settle out Wednesday into the rest of the week, the forecast has another huge cloud coming our way this weekend and more behind that! Take a look:

This goes to July 16th Friday. Courtesy NASA's Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory

There are places, namely the Canary Islands, where this dust can shut down airports and cause serious respiratory issues. By the time the dust makes its way from Africa to the Caribbean and to Texas, we generally only deal with it as an irritant. So if you have asthma or other respiratory issues take precautions this week! You may feel it in your eyes and nose!

The upside to the dust

The dust is nothing like big dust storms that come out of West Texas -- these dust particles are very fine and small. Consequently, they are not ideal for condensation to form and there is usually just enough to enhance our sunsets! This is from Galveston last night:

Thanks to Heather Charron for putting this on click2pins

The other big plus is that this dust helps cool the ocean water and suppresses convection -- so the seeds of our hurricanes don’t form as easily when the Saharan dust is present. Indeed, look how clear the satellite is right now over the Atlantic:

This is the two-day forecast from NHC but tropical activity is not expected the next 5 days

So enjoy the sunsets and the lack of tropical activity!

Frank

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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.