Thickest Saharan dust still to come on Saturday

Weather Blog

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thicker concentrations of dust and haze are blowing into the area today from the Sahara Desert, interacting with heavy rain showers to produce a “dirty rain” that may leave your car in need of a wash.

Large clouds of dust from the Sahara frequently blow across the Atlantic during the summer months driven by the prevailing easterly winds, suppressing hurricane formation on their journey toward the United States. While it is not uncommon for these to appear from time to time in central Texas, this dust cloud is particularly thick.

Michael Lowry, former scientist with University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), posted on Twitter that “The ongoing Saharan #dust outbreak across the tropical Atlantic is by far the most extreme of the MODIS satellite record — our most detailed, continuous record of global dust back to 2002.”

Haze and dust concentrations are forecast to peak locally on Saturday. Dust should lighten and largely exit the area on Sunday. Additional particulate matter in the atmosphere during these dust events enhance the sky colors at sunrise and sunset, but also may irritate your eyes and throat if you have allergies or asthma.

Dust increases locally Friday
Dust peaks locally on Saturday
Dust exits the area Sunday

An air quality forecast of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” on Saturday means that those with respiratory conditions may consider limiting time outdoors. There will be no health impact for the majority of the population.

Read the following air quality forecast from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ):

Friday 06/26/2020

Heavy amounts of African dust will arrive along the coast and begin moving inland over the course of the day. Overall, depending on the intensity and coverage of the intense African dust while considering ongoing chances for precipitation in spots, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the middle to upper end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Brownsville-McAllen area; the lower to middle end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, and Victoria areas; the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Austin area; the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth and Midland-Odessa areas; and possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend area. The associated PM10 AQI due to the African dust could also reach possibly the lower end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Brownsville-McAllen area; the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, and Victoria areas; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin area; possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; and the upper end of the “Good” range (perhaps with an isolated low “Moderate” or two) in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth and Midland-Odessa areas areas as well.

Saturday 06/27/2020 Outlook

Heavy amounts of African dust will continue to expand across most of the state. Overall, depending on the intensity and coverage of the intense African dust, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the lower to middle end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Austin, Brownsville-McAllen, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas; possibly the lower end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Lubbock and San Antonio areas; the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Amarillo, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Houston, Midland-Odessa, and Tyler-Longview areas; and the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend and El Paso areas. The associated PM10 AQI due to the African dust could also reach the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Austin, Brownsville-McAllen, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas; the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Lubbock and San Antonio areas; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Amarillo, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Houston, Midland-Odessa, and Tyler-Longview areas; and possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Big Bend and El Paso areas as well.

Sunday 06/28/2020 Outlook

Moderate to heavy amounts of African dust will continue across much of the state at varying intensities. Overall, depending on the intensity and coverage of the African dust, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the upper end of the “Moderate” range or possibly higher in parts of the Amarillo, Lubbock, and Midland-Odessa areas; the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Big Bend, Brownsville-McAllen, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; and the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Houston, and Victoria areas. The associated PM10 AQI due to the African dust could also reach the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Amarillo, Lubbock, and Midland-Odessa areas; possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Big Bend, Brownsville-McAllen, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas; and the upper end of the “Good” range (perhaps with an isolated low “Moderate” or two) in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Houston, and Victoria areas as well.

Monday 06/29/2020 Outlook

Moderate amounts of African dust will continue across much of the eastern two-thirds of the state at varying intensities, generally along and east of a line from Langtry to Perryton. Overall, depending on the intensity and coverage of the lingering African dust, the daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Brownsville-McAllen, Laredo, and San Antonio areas; the lower to middle end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas; possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Tyler-Longview area; and the upper end of the “Good” range (perhaps with an isolated low “Moderate” or two) in parts of the Big Bend area. The associated PM10 AQI due to the African dust could also reach possibly the lower end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Brownsville-McAllen, Laredo, and San Antonio areas and the upper end of the “Good” range (perhaps with an isolated low “Moderate” or two) in parts of the Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas as well.

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