Bad news this weekend for those living near the Gulf Coast. Satellite images have just revealed a massive “Godzilla” dust cloud from the Saharan desert is headed towards the States. While it is quite common for this mass of dry air to carry dust, called the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), the sheer mass of this upcoming SAL combined with respiratory illnesses brought on by COVID-19 is sure to cause some complications.
According to Pablo Méndez Lázaro of the University of Puerto Rico, this is “the most significant event in the past 50 years.” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and lead hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski also added: “This is probably the worst air quality caused by Saharan dust in recent memory. Dust particles are like any other pollution such as smoke. Low-level dust is usually a very short-term issue such as when one experiences dust in a dust storm. But this is different because it’s not local dust, it’s dust that originated at least 4,000 miles away and has been falling out to the ground since then.”
There are already reports in the Caribbean of poor visibility and a layer of dust on vehicles, reminding many to wear their masks due to the hazardous quality of air. As if 2020 couldn’t get worse, this “Godzilla” dust cloud could linger around until early next week reaching as far as West Virginia. Those in the area should set a reminder to wear a mask when going outdoors.
#SATELLITE SPOTLIGHT: This #SaharanAirLayer (#SAL) tracking animation shows how the plume of #dust and #sand from the #SaharaDesert has moved westward over the last 5 days. Areas of red and pink represent the dry, dusty air as seen from @NOAA's #GOES16 ?️ pic.twitter.com/mh7gULXFSU
— NOAA Satellites – Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) June 23, 2020
— 8645 (Dave) (@DistortedLoop) June 25, 2020
8 am: Preliminary measurements from #SaharanDust in #PuertoRico are between 350-380 ug/m3 (PM10) and AQI estimated 173-237: VERY UNHEALTHY ?. According to Dr. Olga Mayol, @UPR_Oficial this is a historic event in PR, unseen in 50-60 years. Image from #Villalba ? Osvaldo Burgos. pic.twitter.com/oVAyOOViCa
— Ada Monzón (@adamonzon) June 22, 2020
A thin layer of #Saharandust is in the surface of our cars, exterior tables, fans, etc. This extraordinary dense SAL was lifted from the Saharan desert and traveled to the Caribbean. The red color comes from the iron minerals that travel in this layer. pic.twitter.com/DRLP13kXRp
— Ada Monzón (@adamonzon) June 23, 2020