African Desert Dust Affecting Air Quality In Brazos Valley

COLLEGE STATION, Texas It's a major dust-up in the Brazos Valley, one emanating from half a world away.

If you've walked outside lately you've seen it, and may have breathed some in.

A giant Sahara Desert dust cloud has traveled all the way from Africa over the Atlantic and is putting a little tint in our skies.

The haze is unusual for our area and it could cause health concerns.

Hot and hazy temperatures are a common site in the summertime with desert-like temperatures.

But now there's some authentic African desert dust to go along with it.

"I've been sneezing and having kind of a sore throat lately," said Leslie Janac of Burleson County.

She was at an allergist for some needed relief.

She learned about the desert dust from us.

"From the Sahara Desert. That's unusual," she said.

As crazy as it sounds dust particles from half a world away are impacting our weather in Central Texas.

"This is an example of a large Saharan air dust outbreak," said Texas A&M Atmospheric Sciences Professor Kenneth Bowman.

Bowman says these outbreaks happen frequently, but don't always make it here.

"The dust gets carried out over the Atlantic Ocean and when you get particularly large ones like this it can go all the way across the Atlantic, to the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and even parts of the U.S.," said Bowman, Ph.D.

For allergy sufferers weekly shots help manage them but they won't help for this dust situation. The best advice for allergy and asthma sufferers is to avoid going outside for now.

Dr. Barry Paull of Allergy Associates says this dust is different from your house dust.

"It's not an allergic reaction, it's an irritant reaction. But it would definitely affect asthmatic's air quality, always does and it can bother people with allergies," said Dr. Paull.

"And the good news it's so hot anyway that it's keeping people inside anyway, not spending a lot of time outside just because it's 100 degree heat," said Leslie Janac.

While the sweltering summer is sticking around this dust is expected to disappear within a few days.

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