african dust

African Dust in Texas

Rick Mitchell

A plume of dust from Africa has moved across Texas. It produced a hazy sky on Tuesday along with a pretty sunrise and sunset.

Rick Mitchell

While that plume has moved out of the area, additional dust could move into North Texas Friday and Saturday, so keep an eye out for a hazy sky later in the week.

These dust clouds are created by strong surface winds in Africa that loft dust particles high into the atmosphere. The dust cloud is then captured by the westward-moving jet stream and transported across the Atlantic ocean. The months of June and July are the peak of the African dust season.

As the dust crosses the ocean, it tends to help dampen the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes. As the summer progresses, the winds over Africa become lighter and the dust clouds diminish. The lighter winds mean less wind shear which makes tropical storm development more favorable.

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While much of the dust particles remain suspended well above the ground, some of the dust can impact the surface. People with respiratory issues may notice the effects along with certain allergy sufferers. One benefit of the dust is that some of it settles over the tropical rain forests bringing nutrients to the plants and trees.

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