Particles from dust cloud over Houston pose hazards to your health

Yet another Saharan dust cloud has made the journey 5,000 miles from Africa to Houston.

These clouds are concentrated about 10,000 feet off the ground. They do thin out as they cross the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, but there are still enough fine dust particles left to make for a hazy gray sky over Texas.

These fine dust particles are also hazardous for our health. Measuring only 2.5 microns in diameter, or roughly 1/30 the width of a human hair, they can penetrate deep into the lungs when breathed in.

Dust particles

Today's air quality index is moderate verging on "unhealthy for sensitive groups," or those with lungs conditions like asthma and emphysema. If you are concerned about the air quality, limit your exposure outdoors, especially while engaging in physical activity.

One plus to the African dust blowing across the Atlantic is that it normally signals quiet tropical weather due to the dry nature of the air and the high wind shear needed to blow it all the way over here.

Our latest round of African dust is expected to move out by Friday. While it's here, you might notice some unusually colored sunrises and sunsets. If you capture any on camera, post them to social media with #abc13eyewitness or email them to us at
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