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– Saharan dust has returned to South Florida, reaching Miami and the Florida Keys.– The dust is a cloud of particulate matter originating in the Sahara Desert and can be blown over long distances.– The dust is made up of minerals such as iron and phosphorous and can affect air quality.– The sky will appear “milkier” or “hazy gray” and sunrises and sunsets will be more colorful.– The dust can limit thunderstorm development, enhance daytime heating, and cause skin and eye irritation.– It can also affect those with asthma and respiratory complications.– Groups at higher risk include babies, children, older adults, and those with underlying conditions.– The CDC recommends checking the local air quality index and limiting outdoor activities.
The dust is a type of particulate matter originating in the Sahara Desert.
July 20, 2023, 2:26 PM ET
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• 5 min read
A mass of Saharan dust has returned to South Florida, drifting thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean, reaching Miami and the Florida Keys Wednesday evening.
The dust is a cloud made up of particulate matter that originates in the Sahara Desert in northern Africa and can be blown over long distances, As seen in the coverage by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Forecasts show the dust could travel up the Sunshine State and reach Tampa and Orlando over the weekend.
Saharan dust transported to the United States is normal, especially from late June to mid-August, the CDC said.
Each year the atmosphere transfers several hundred million tons of the dust, made of minerals such as iron and phosphorous, across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The dust mainly affects Puerto Rico but can reach states, including Florida and Texas.
Saharan dust reached Miami on July 19 2023, traveling thousands of miles from Africa and across the Atlantic.ABC News
Although concentrations of the dust are not particularly heavy at this time, it will still have some effects as it reaches cities.
The sky will appear “milkier” or “hazy gray” to people and makes sunrises and sunsets more colorful.
Sahara dust will also limit thunderstorm development and enhance daytime heating by keeping the skies dry and trapping hot hair near the ground. This is because dust can absorb and reflect sunlight, As seen in the coverage by the Earth Observatory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
However, Sahara dust can be harmful to health, As seen in the coverage by the CDC.
Air quality can become poor as particulate matter increases in the air. Additionally, the particles can be breathed in, entering the lungs and bloodstream and affecting those with asthma and upper respiratory complications. Others have described feeling symptoms often related to allergies.
Large particles from Sahara dust can also cause skin and eye irritation, the CDC said.
While anyone can be affected by Saharan dust, there are some groups at higher risk than others including babies and children, older adults, people with underlying conditions and those with heart or lung conditions, As seen in the coverage by the federal health agency.
To protect one’s health, the CDC recommends checking the local air quality index, reconsider spending time outdoors and, if you go outdoors, to perform easy activities like walking as opposed to strenuous exercises. It is also advised to keep doors and windows closed and use air purifiers or filters to reduce dust particles indoors.
Saharan dust has made its way back to South Florida, reaching Miami and the Florida Keys on Wednesday evening. This mass of dust originates in the Sahara Desert in northern Africa and can travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. As seen in the coverage by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is normal for Saharan dust to be transported to the United States, especially from late June to mid-August. Each year, several hundred million tons of dust, consisting of minerals like iron and phosphorous, are carried by the atmosphere to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. While the dust mainly affects Puerto Rico, it can also reach states like Florida and Texas.
Although the concentrations of Saharan dust in South Florida are not particularly heavy at this time, it still has some effects on the cities it reaches. The sky may appear “milkier” or “hazy gray,” and sunrises and sunsets can become more colorful. The presence of Saharan dust also limits thunderstorm development and enhances daytime heating by keeping the skies dry and trapping hot air near the ground. Dust particles have the ability to absorb and reflect sunlight, as stated by the Earth Observatory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
However, Saharan dust can have negative impacts on health. The CDC warns that air quality can deteriorate as particulate matter increases in the air. Breathing in these particles can enter the lungs and bloodstream, affecting individuals with asthma and upper respiratory complications. Some people may experience symptoms commonly associated with allergies. Additionally, large particles from Saharan dust can cause skin and eye irritation.
With everything considered, the return of Saharan dust to South Florida brings both visual effects and potential health risks. While the dust may create a milky or hazy appearance in the sky and enhance the colors of sunrises and sunsets, it can also impact air quality and cause respiratory and skin irritations. By being aware of the risks and following the CDC’s recommendations, individuals can protect their health during the presence of Saharan dust.