African dust cloud returns to Houston skies next week

Travis Herzog Image
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
African dust returns to Houston next week
African dust returns to Houston next week

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A large Saharan dust cloud will make the long trek from the Atlantic to Houston next week turning the skies gray.

The thickest part of this cloud will blow into Houston next Wednesday.

Most of us will just notice a change to the color of the sky, but if you noticed any health impacts during the dust clouds earlier this summer, you may want to consider reducing your outdoor exposure later next week.

VIDEO: Drone footage captures dust storm across area

Drone footage of African dust storm across the Houston area.

The dust will start thinning out by next weekend as a few showers could pop up in southeast Texas.

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.

The good news about the dust clouds? They typically prevent hurricanes from developing.