WHAT IS THE SAHARAN DUST MASS?
The Saharan Dust mass traveling across the Atlantic Ocean and over the United States is nothing uncommon. This happens every year around June or June because of the upper-level trade winds that come from the east along the region of the equator.
This year, however, that Saharan Dust has been nicknamed the “Godzilla” dust cloud because of its size and strength. It stretches much further and is much thicker than it has been in the last several years.
IMPACTS ON AIR QUALITY AND THE WEATHER
In the southern states, you’ve likely heard that these dust particles are creating poor air quality and that people should avoid the outdoors, which is the case. Here in the Valley, those impacts aren’t nearly as big.
What you may notice at sunrise and sunset over the next 24 to 48 hours, however, is the picture in the sky filled with colorful oranges and yellows.
Why? Well, over the next 24 hours, the dust mass will nearly split. The thicker mass will stay over the southern states, while the other less particle-filled mass will move north toward the Canadian border and Great Lakes.
Those dust particles (and sea salt particles, picked up along the journey over the ocean) will reflect the light as it sits on the horizon, painting beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Our air quality should remain unaffected and unfortunately, the dry, dusty air isn’t enough to lower our chances of rain on Saturday.
WHEN YOU MAY NOTICE IT
Cloud cover was heavy because of rain and storms Saturday morning, but as the clouds clear Saturday evening and Sunday morning, you may notice colors in the sky looking extra vibrant.