African dust cloud returns this week

Weather Blog

AUSTIN (KXAN) — African dust returned to Texas Monday, but mainly in areas along and east of a line from Del Rio to Dallas, with the air quality in the Austin metro area only expected to reach the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range.

The concentration of dust is expected to increase Tuesday, then weaken again by Wednesday.

Doctors say when Saharan dust increases, it’s important that people with respiratory issues monitor the increasing dust and limit their time outdoors. Austinites we spoke with say they’ll avoid going outside.

Samuel Gozo teaches a boot camp class along Lady Bird Lake. With the African dust headed to Austin, he plans to avoid going outside. 

“As far as working out is concerned, that just means it’s a rest day for me because I like working out outdoors, I really do. But, if it’s going to be hard to breathe, then why bother?”

Abigail Rogan, a jogger who was taking a breather along the lake Monday, said she can already feel the dust. 

“It’s affecting my run because I can’t breathe,” she said. “I don’t get seasonal allergies. I don’t have any food allergies. I didn’t know where it came from. I thought I had a cold.”

Rogan says she’ll probably spend Tuesday indoors. 

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

AQI Scale
Forecast Region
(Click name for AIRNOW version)
Mon
08/13/2018
Tue
08/14/2018
Wed
08/15/2018
Thu
08/16/2018
Amarillo Ozone Ozone Ozone Ozone
Austin PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 Good
Beaumont-Port Arthur PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 Good Good
Brownsville-McAllen PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5
Corpus Christi PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5
Dallas-Fort Worth PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 Ozone
El Paso Ozone Ozone* Ozone/PM2.5/PM10 Ozone/PM2.5
Houston PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 Good Good
Laredo PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5
Lubbock Good Good Good Good
Midland-Odessa PM2.5 PM2.5 PM2.5 Good
San Antonio PM2.5 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 Good
Tyler-Longview PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 PM2.5 Good
Victoria PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 Good Good
Waco-Killeen PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5/PM10 PM2.5 Good
An asterisk (*) indicates that an Ozone Action Day is or will be in effect for the indicated region.

African dust is expected to continue and should spread further inland to cover much of the state along and east of a line from Presidio to Canadian, with the heaviest amounts over portions of the Hill Country stretching northward into North Central and Northwest Texas. Overall, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area; the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, San Antonio, and Waco-Killeen areas; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend, Brownsville-McAllen, Midland-Odessa, Tyler-Longview, and Victoria areas; and the upper end of the “Good” range in parts of the Amarillo and Lubbock areas. The PM10 AQI associated with the dust could also reach the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, San Antonio, and Waco-Killeen areas as well.

Otherwise in the South Plains, moderate winds and/or lower incoming background levels should help keep air quality in the “Good” range in most spots. Wednesday 08/15/2018 Outlook African dust will slowly weaken overall while continuing to spread inland to cover much of the state with the exception of far West Texas, with the heaviest dust lingering over Southwest Texas.

Overall, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend area; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Brownsville-McAllen, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, Midland-Odessa, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; and the upper end of the “Good” range in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Houston, Lubbock, and Victoria areas and, with contributions from residual smoke due to fires across the Western United States arriving in the northern Panhandle, in parts of the Amarillo area. The PM10 AQI associated with the dust could also reach the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend area as well. Thursday 08/16/2018 Outlook Winds may be light enough and/or incoming background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” or possibly higher in parts of the El Paso area; “Moderate” in parts of the Amarillo and Dallas-Fort Worth area; and the upper end of the “Good” range in parts of the Houston area, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening. Lighter amounts of weakening African dust will linger in patches over much of the state with the exception of far West Texas, with slightly stronger dust remaining over parts of South and Southwest Texas.

Overall, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend, Brownsville-McAllen, Corpus Christi, and Laredo areas and the upper end of the “Good” range in parts of the Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Midland-Odessa, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas and, with contributions from residual smoke due to fires across the Western United States pushing further south into the Panhandle, in parts of the Amarillo and Lubbock areas.

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