Saharan dust travels off Africa coast into eastern Atlantic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's that time of year again! Saharan dust is starting to make it way from the coast of Africa. This dust cloud is expected to slowly travel westward toward the United States.

There is a possibility that very low concentrations of dust could drift near Southeast Texas the week of June 22.

Most of us won't notice much of a change if the dust moves into our region. The biggest change we would see is a slight grayish tint to the sky.

But could this dust cause you any discomfort?

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.
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