Hazy skies from African dust through the weekend

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Saharan dust is making the long trek across the Atlantic Ocean, obscuring visibility and irritating allergies in central Texas. Hazy skies are expected to continue through the weekend.

This is a common occurrence during the early summer months, and has minimal impact on air quality. Air quality will remain “moderate” through the weekend in central Texas with an increased level of particulate matter.

African dust also has the added benefit of suppressing hurricane development in the Atlantic Basin, one of the reasons the tropics are quiet as of Thursday.

African dust over Austin (KXAN photo / Todd Bailey)

Read the following details from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ):

African dust will continue spreading in patches to eventually cover most entire state, with the highest concentrations in South Texas and along the coast. Additionally, light amounts of patchy smoke from agricultural burning in Mexico and Central America is expected to continue to linger in decreasing amounts over much of the state, with the heaviest concentrations shifting along and west of a line from Corpus Christi to Gainesville, with the heaviest concentrations remaining in South Texas. Overall, depending on the intensity and coverage of the dust, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the middle of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Brownsville McAllen, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio areas; the lower to middle of the “Moderate” Range in parts of the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Victoria areas; the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; and the upper end of the “Good” range in parts of the Amarillo area.

(TCEQ)

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