Historic Saharan dust plume to stretch into the US

Historic Saharan dust
The Saharan dust cloud darkens the skies in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday

The recent Saharan dust cloud is turning into the worst dust storm in decades in the Caribbean. A few days ago, the dust cloud moved into the Caribbean and by Monday it had changed the usually clear skies into a grayish colour. The dust cloud is still on the move and is journeying towards the US.

As the storm moves to its next destination, it leaves the pristine islands in a haze of dust. The dust plume is one of the most significant dust events seen in the region of the Americas.

A researcher at the University of Puerto Rico, Olga Mayol-Bracero said “it is definitely historic”. “We knew we were going to be in an extraordinary situation,” She added. Also Read– Floods hit northwest Turkey killing 5

Many of her colleagues across the islands said they have never seen air conditions this bad in the Caribbean in their entire careers.

Worst air quality in the Caribbean in 15 years

Mayol-Bracero’s research station in northeastern Puerto Rico measured Aerosols in PM10 and said records have never reached the levels they have seen in the Caribbean in the past few days. The records at the station date back almost 15 years.

Claire Ryder, NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Reading said the movement of the dust storm is unusual across such a large area.

“Usually by the time dust from the Sahara has traveled this far, much of it has been dispersed and/or deposited to the ocean so that typically this long-range transport to the Americas would involve much lower concentrations,” Ryder said.

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The dust is forecast to move across the Gulf of Mexico and towards Texas on Wednesday. By Thursday morning people will see the dust storm in Brownsville and Houston, Texas among others. Then the dust storm is expected to move over the weekend towards the Southeast and Mid Atlantic states.


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