Saharan Dust: Here's what to expect when it makes it to the Ozarks

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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Saharan dust from Africa will make its way into the Ozarks this weekend. One thing you can watch for is gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

800 million metric tons of dust front north Africa will make the skies a little hazy. Sunlight reflecting all of the dust will make sunrises and sunsets more vibrant

Dust blew off the coast of northern Africa along the equator, the particles got swept northward into the U.S. because of trade winds and a strong upper-level jet stream.

Doctor Sadaf Sohrab, a pulmonologist with Mercy said the same dust can irritate the lungs, especially if you have asthma or underlying lung conditions.

'The dust particles can go pretty deep into the lungs,” Dr. Sohrab said.

Dust in the lungs can cause a cough, shortness in breath, and wheezing. These same symptoms are similar to those of coronavirus, but there are differences.

“Mostly COVID-19 symptoms are also going to include fever, so you’re not going to experience fever with a lot of dust exposure,” Dr. Sohrab said.

You also will not experience body aches, loss of taste, or smell with dust exposure, which are all additional symptoms of COVID-19. Dr. Sohrab warns if you have underlying lung conditions, limit time outdoors.

“If you have asthma if you have COPD, make sure you keep taking your inhalers as instructed,” Dr. Sohrab said.

Close windows, doors, and keep the AC circulating.

When you do go outside to see the sunrise and set, Dr. Sohrab says to wear a mask. She says if you take precautions, you will be just fine viewing the gorgeous sunrise colors.

Clouds tonight will limit the view of the sunset. The sun will set at 8:37 pm tonight. Look towards the northwestern sky to get the best view.

Conditions will clear up tomorrow morning allowing for a good sunrise. The sun will rise just before 6 am, look to the northeastern sky for the best view.

Sunday night skies will be clearer for a better view of the sunset. Again you will want to look towards the northwestern sky around 8:37 pm.