Monster Saharan dust cloud arrives in Mexico

Gulf satellite Thursday afternoon 6/25

A Massive Dust Cloud Is Headed to the St. Louis Area

New imagery from space released on Thursday (June 25) reveal the massive plume of Saharan dust that has shrouded swathes of the Caribbean and turned blue skies into a milky-brown haze, sparking health warnings across the region as air quality fell to unhealthy levels.

NASA astronaut Doug Hurley tweeted last Sunday: "We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic".

Wilkinson compared Saharan air layers to thunderstorms. It occurs every summer, ' said NWS meteorologist Patrick Blood.

The dust could also enhance Florida's already gorgeous sunsets, reflecting light off of its particles to give the sky a deep red or orange glow.

The dust plume is also expected to reach the St. Louis area this weekend, KMOV reported. The cloud-which has been called the Gorilla Dust Cloud-forms annually but is significantly larger this year.

This year seems to be worse than most.

Weather experts were reported as saying that the dust could cover the Yucatán Peninsula and western Gulf of Mexico, with even parts of the Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, and the south-east US expected to encounter a dusty shroud over this weekend.

Saharan dust in Atlantic
More dust from Africa was moving across the Atlantic on Thursday and approaching the Caribbean

The technical name for the dust storm is the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) but some have nicknamed this year's cloud the "Godzilla dust cloud" due to its unprecedented size.

While our region won't experience dramatic conditions, a dust cloud could result in unusually hazy skies, and deeply colored sunrises and sunsets.

The dust cloud arrived in Tulsa on Saturday.

'There's emerging evidence of potential interactions between air pollution and the risk of COVID, so at this stage we are concerned, ' said Gregory Wellenius, an professor of environmental health at Boston University's School of Public Health. The American Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommended vulnerable people to take precautions and try to limit their time outdoors, where the air quality will be poor.

"If you live in an area where potentially you're getting more inflammation in your lungs from the Saharan dust, then you're also exposed to COVID, it may set you up to be more susceptible to either getting the infection or for having more severe consequences of getting the infection", Matsui said.

Infections across the USA have been surging for more than a week after trending down for over six weeks.

"Reaching as far west as Texas is very unusual".

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