Published: Tue, June 30, 2020
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Dangerous Saharan dust amid COVID-19

Dangerous Saharan dust amid COVID-19

Well, the nightmare that is 2020 rolls on and now instead of dealing with only a risky pandemic and a massive economic crisis and a complete moron in the White House, we also might have to worry about getting taken out by a cloud of dust.

The Saharan dust plume will hang over Mexico and the southeastern United States until the middle of next week, deteriorating the air quality in places where the number of COVID-19 cases has recently spiked.

Trillions of dust grains will reflect sunlight in each path, producing milky white skies.

The cloud, also known as the Saharan Air Layer, blew across the Atlantic and up through the southeastern US billowing over states including Georgia, the Carolinas and Texas.

Moving slowly through the United States, a dust storm that originated in the Sahara may impact local air-quality conditions.

The Saharan dust typically "helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon" in addition to affecting air quality, according to NASA, which along with NOAA has captured satellite images of the plume.

It can also irritate sinuses, McClatchy News reported.

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

"Now whether or not they are strong as this one remains to be seen", he said.

That other side? The dust may also cause people to develop COVID-19-like symptoms, like sore throat and coughing, even if they don't have the disease.

The dry air mass that carries the dust can suppress tropical storm and hurricane formation and can enhance and illuminate sunrises and sunsets, meteorologists said.

If you have asthma or COPD, Sohrab suggests keeping windows and doors closed and keeping your air conditioning circulating, according to the outlet. Several people in the southeastern US took to social media to share images of the stunning views.

Wilkinson compared Saharan air layers to thunderstorms.

We know that public health officials are particularly anxious about the dust from the Sahara because it has been found to be the largest contributor to mineral dust - a major component of particulate matter - in the atmosphere.

"It had the highest concentrations of dust particles observed over Puerto Rico in at least the last 15 years", Dr. Olga Mayol told The Weather Channel. She has an MSt from the University of Cambridge and lives in Kansas City.


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