Hazy skies: Another round of Saharan dust impacting Austin area


AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN’s First Warning Weather Team is tracking another plume of dust from Africa that’s become more concentrated.

Light amounts of Saharan dust were already present in the atmosphere at the end of last week, but the concentrations are expected to increase to the point that a dirty, dingy tint to the sky becomes more prominent for the second time in two weeks.

This trend typically happens during the summertime when huge plumes of dust come west from the Sahara Desert. The dust actually suppresses hurricane formation in the Atlantic, and can spread dry air all the way to Texas.

Elsewhere in Texas, light winds could keep air quality in the “moderate” range with both background levels of ozone and particulate matter.

When Saharan dust increases, it’s important for those with respiratory issues to monitor the increasing dust, especially late this weekend through early next week, and limit extended outdoor exposure on days with higher dust concentrations.

Current models show the dust hanging around through this week.

Forecast based on EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI)

AQI Scale
Forecast Region
(Click name for AIRNOW version)
Amarillo Ozone Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5 PM2.5
Austin PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10
Beaumont-Port Arthur PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10
Brownsville-McAllen PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5
Corpus Christi PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5
Dallas-Fort Worth Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10
El Paso Ozone Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5 Ozone
Houston PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10
Laredo PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10
Lubbock PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5
Midland-Odessa Ozone/PM2.5 Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5 PM2.5
San Antonio PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10
Tyler-Longview PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10
Victoria PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5
Waco-Killeen PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10
An asterisk (*) indicates that an Ozone Action Day is or will be in effect for the indicated region.

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