Here we go again. There is another thick African dust cloud heading for Houston. This cloud will be just as thick if not thicker than the cloud that turned Houston’s sky hazy gray at the end of June. The thickest part of the cloud will be passing over Houston Sunday and Monday. If you didn’t notice any health impacts last time, then you’ll probably be okay this time, too.
So what does it mean for you?
Most of these fine dust particles will stay suspended thousands of feet above ground, turning the sky a hazy gray. For most of you, that’s the only difference you’ll notice, but some of you may encounter respiratory issues.
A portion of this microscopic dust, known as particulate matter, does reach the ground and can penetrate deep into our lungs. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, studies have shown chemical contaminants and microorganisms can also survive the trek across the Atlantic, but few studies have been conducted on the impact to human health.
Sensitive individuals with asthma, allergies, and other lung conditions may notice flare ups, especially after prolonged outdoor exposure. Other sensitive groups include the elderly, young children, and pets. If you are concerned about the impact to your health, consider limiting your time outside.
There is a seasonal cycle to when African dust clouds can reach Houston. They normally track through our sky in May, June, and July.