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First Saharan dust plume of the season slips past the Brazos Valley Friday

Skies turn hazy but air quality not expected to take a hit
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:22 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - ‘Tis the season for plumes of dust to make the long 5,000-mile journey across the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The first round of Saharan dust to reach Texas is forecast to slide up the I-35 corridor Friday and Saturday. A light concentration of that dust will put a hazy film over the skies of the Brazos Valley ahead of the weekend.

FRIDAY

A small, couple hundred-mile-long pocket of dust is expected to reach South Texas by Friday morning, coming by way of Central America to the Yucatan Peninsula to reach Brownsville, Texas at first light. As this dust rounds the western edge of high pressure, it will swing through San Antonio and into Austin, the Hill Country, and Brazos Valley by sunset.

A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.
A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.(KBTX)

Blue morning skies will slowly turn more milky and hazy by afternoon. For some, the sky may look a little paler blue than brightly colored. As the sun makes the daily drop to the horizon, it will look more like a pinhole as the dusty skies hinder the last light of the day from scattering through the sky as normal. This is only a light concentration, so do not expect a huge deviation from what the evening sky typically looks like.

A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.
A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.(KBTX)

SATURDAY

Clearing conditions occur as early as sunrise Saturday. As this plume continues north, it is expected to reach Central and North Texas by Saturday morning and likely turns the skies hazy over the Red River in Oklahoma Saturday midday. A very light haze may be left in place locally -- but generally, bright blue continues mixed with scattered clouds will be the curtain call for Saturday.

A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.
A light concentration of Saharan dust is expected to pass through the Brazos Valley Friday.(KBTX)

AIR QUALITY

Considering this is only a light concentration of dust, air quality is NOT expected to take a big hit Friday or Saturday. The forecast from the TCEQ calls for “Moderate” air quality, not unlike a typical summer day in the Brazos Valley.

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