AUSTIN (KXAN) — Saharan dust has returned to Central Texas for the second time this season. This is not a rare occurrence by any means. This is normal — especially for this time of the year.
We typically see these dust plumes start to reach Central Texas by June and continue a few times through the middle of August. While some of the dust certainly does reach ground level and affect the air quality, the vast majority of the dust remains one mile above the surface in about a two-mile thick layer.
Lower air quality and vibrant sunsets/hazy conditions are what we expect from Central Texas down to the Texas Gulf Coast. This will last from Monday all the way through Friday, June 17.
We expect the air quality to lower to the higher range of the “moderate” category Monday through Friday. A moderate index means 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 the highest risk. It’s important for these people to limit their time outdoors.
When will we see the worst impacts
While low concentrations of dust are already overhead in our area, higher amounts will move in Wednesday night and peak by Thursday before quickly mixing out of the air just in time for the weekend. Thursday we expect the air quality to be at its worst.
It’s important to note 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. The best prevention to avoid any discomfort is to limit your time outdoors or wear a facemask.
Check here for a live look at our weather cameras across Central Texas as we track the dust and increasing hazy weather.