Gigantic Saharan dust cloud will reach U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend


Dust from the Sahara Desert usually travels across the Atlantic to the United States from May to August and can cause health hazards.

A trans-Atlantic Saharan dust cloud, the first in 2022, is heading toward the United States and will sweep across Gulf Coast states as early as this weekend.

The first Saharan dust storm will engulf the US Gulf Coast this weekend (May 21-22, 2022)
The first Saharan dust storm will engulf the US Gulf Coast this weekend (May 21-22, 2022). Gif by AccuWeather

The dust was still over the Atlantic as of Tuesday, and projections show the dust cloud will engulf the Caribbean before reaching the shores of the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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The particles mostly hover about a mile above the Earth’s surface in a layer about 2 to 2.5 miles thick, referred to as the Saharan Air Layer.

air quality map for May 17, 2022, shows dust (orange/red) over the Atlantic Ocean
AccuWeather air quality map for May 17, 2022, shows dust (orange/red) over the Atlantic Ocean. Picture via Accuweather

The particles can present health risks and can agitate allergies and asthma in sensitive individuals.

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Most of us simply notice the sky turning a hazy gray, which is especially noticeable at sunrise and sunset,” a meteorologist said.

Weekend forecast for Sahara dust storm in US Gulf States

There’s disagreement among forecasts on whether particles from the latest Saharan dust cloud will even reach the western Gulf Coast.

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NASA’s model shows some dust in the skies in Louisiana and Texas on Sunday, while the Copernicus model projects the dust will dissipate before it reaches the United States, except in southern Florida, according to Jesse Ferrell, a senior weather editor at AccuWeather.

Effects from the Saharan dust cloud could be mitigated in Texas by possible rain along an approaching cold front.

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The effects of the first Saharan dust cloud of 2022 are projected to be mild, especially in comparison to the Godzilla dust storm in 2020, which could be seen by astronauts at the International Space Station. Nearly 24 tons of dust were carried across the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert in 2020.

The biggest impact is likely to be hazy skies and extra color for sunrises and sunsets. [AccuWeather, Patch] is now running ad-free CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT MY WORK… I will send you a small gemstone if you give more than 25$… Thanks in advance!

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