Saharan Dust Blows Into Texas (What Does That Mean for Us?)
If you notice the hazy-looking sky, it's because a plume of Saharan dust has made its way 5000 miles all the way from the Saharan desert in Africa.
Besides the dust in the air making my allergies bad, it may actually a good thing we see this massive cloud of dust come over the Atlantic each year.
Believe it or not, Saharan dust has some benefits, including inhibiting hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricanes require moist air to develop and thrive, and dust is associated with dry air.
After heavy rains and flooding, Amazon rainforests lose phosphorus and nutrients. Saharan dust, however, nourishes the rainforest's vegetation and soil.
As a result, Saharan dust can also fertilize plankton and cause blooms across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In turn, ocean creatures are provided with food.
These are things I did not know until I looked them up.
Now with the good sometimes comes the bad, so here's what's not so great about having the Saharan Desert in our backyard.
The high concentrations of dust here locally, which is common at this time of year, reduce our air quality as dust particles are suspended in the air we breathe. So as you can see, much of Texas is categorized as "Moderate."
In a moderate index, a small number of susceptible people may have a few health problems. However, most at risk are the elderly and the very young, as well as people with asthma and other respiratory problems. These people should limit their time spent outdoors.
Saharan dust is an irritant and not an allergy, so allergy medications will not prevent discomfort. The dust does not cause sneezing or runny noses, but it can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat. To avoid any discomfort, limit your time outdoors or wear a facemask.
It's definitely another reason to wear our face masks.