FIRST WARNING: Thick amounts of Saharan dust return this weekend

Weather Blog

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Another round of Saharan dust is heading our way after a long 5,000 mile trek from Africa and over the Atlantic ocean.


Friday afternoon we’ll start to see some Saharan dust slowly move into Central Texas.

Saturday and into Sunday is when we will see the thickest amount of Saharan dust.

Unfortunately, this is perfectly timed with an incoming high pressure system setting over Texas.

This will create a hot, dry and even calm weather pattern, creating conditions that will be slow to mix out this dust.

We expect the air quality to remain lower than normal all weekend long.

A moderate index means that a small number of unusually sensitive people may have a few health concerns. The elderly and the very young — as well as people with asthma and other respiratory issues — are at highest risk. It’s important for these people to limit their time outdoors.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is forecasting a “Moderate” index this weekend


Believe it or not, there is some good that comes from Saharan dust. Notice how we haven’t mentioned any tropical activity lately?

That’s because there is none right now.

There’s a whole lot of Saharan dust across the Atlantic. Dust is associated with dry air. This dry air suppresses hurricane activity development.

Another benefit: The Amazon rainforest is usually stripped of phosphorous and nutrients after heavy rain and flooding. But Saharan dust refuels the rainforest’s vegetation and soil.

Saharan dust can also fertilize Plankton and cause blooms across the Atlantic ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico. This in return provides food for ocean creatures.

And lastly, we can’t forget all the vibrant sunsets that Saharan dust has provided us here in Central Texas. The suspended dust particles scatter out different wavelengths of colors. Send your photos of the sunset to over the weekend!

The sun sets at Barton Creek during a late June plume of Saharan Dust across Central Texas (KXAN)

It’s important to note that Saharan dust is an irritant and not an allergy, so allergy medication will not work to prevent discomfort. It doesn’t cause sneezing or runny noses but can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat. Best prevention to avoid any discomfort is to limit your time outdoors or wear a facemask.

Click HERE for a live look at our weather cameras across central Texas as we track the dust and increasing hazy weather.

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