THE DUST IS BACK! More African dust blows over Houston through Tuesday

Travis Herzog Image
Monday, August 13, 2018
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Another African dust cloud is back in Houston, and Meteorologist Travis Herzog says it will degrade the air quality this afternoon.

The thickest part of this cloud is moving through Houston today. You'll see a "Saharan sunset" this evening and wake up to more haze Tuesday.

Most of us will just notice a change to the color of the sky, but if you noticed any health impacts during previous dust clouds, you may consider reducing your outdoor exposure the next couple of days.

The dust will thin out considerably on Wednesday as tropical moisture returns and brings back a chance for scattered afternoon downpours.

So what does it mean for you?

Meteorologist Travis Herzog says 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.

VIDEO: Drone footage captures dust storm across area

Drone footage of African dust storm across the Houston area.

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. Travis says they normally track through our sky in May, June, and July, so it is a bit unusual to a observe a dust cloud this thick in mid-August.

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