The Saharan dust plume is now in the Caribbean Sea. It will complete its 5,000-mile trek from Africa to the US, but how will it affect people, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic?
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The United States should be expecting a massive dust plume from the Sahara desert this week, trekking from Africa to the U.S. on a 5,000-mile journey.
The Sahara Dust Plume is Arriving
The Sahara dust plume is so massive and thick that it is visible on satellite imagery and, according to the Weather Channel, is now across the ocean between the two continents, specifically in the Caribbean Sea, carried by the east-to-west Trade Winds.
Today’s view of a large Saharan dust plume.
Weather forecast models say the dust plume will reach the southeast U.S. by Wednesday this week, June 24.
Before you say that 2020 is here yet again to mess up everything, the Sahara dust plume is nothing new and happens routinely, tracking into the Atlantic Ocean from late spring into early fall.
Although large, the dust plumes typically carried by the wind aren’t always as massive as we should expect this week, it does happen.
“Every so often, when the dust plume is large enough and trade winds set up just right, the dust can travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic and into the U.S.,” said CNN‘s meteorologist, Haley Brink.
How Does it Affect the People?
But how will it affect you?
The Saharan Air Layer is typically found 5,000 to 20,000 feet in the air, but some of them go down to the surface and can affect people with severe allergies, which would cause sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, or even itching.
In the days of the coronavirus pandemic, it is mandatory to wear a mask when you’re outdoors, and it could help a little–but know that it might still affect you.
Additionally, if you have to sneeze in public, be sure you cover both your mouth and nose, always sanitize, and don’t go out so often and for a very long time.
If you have asthma or any other respiratory disease, you need to be extra careful as the dust could aggravate your condition.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also said that the dust layer could cause toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sensational Sunsets and Dawns
Although your allergies might act up during this time, it’s actually not all bad.
For one, the Sahara dust plume is extremely dry, and hurricanes hate it, so as long as the dust plume is in the air, the National Hurricane Center would be more relaxed, trying to watch fewer spots in the tropics.
That means there would be fewer chances of a hurricane, as per Phys.org.
Most of all, the Sahara dust plume could bring southeastern U.S. citizens some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises as the dust does a great job of scattering the sun’s ray, so it’s the perfect time to grab your phones and post something Instagram-worthy after a long while of being cooped up inside.
Once the dust settles in the U.S., people would also notice a milky haze to your usual blue sky because of the millions of small dust particles in the air.
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