July 31, 2021

Dust cloud from the Sahara heading towards Florida


A column of Saharan dust reaches the eastern Caribbean as it moves west

The sunsets in the state of Florida, in the United States, will be beautiful and spectacular in the following days, due to the great cloud of dust from the Sahara desert that will enter this Wednesday, June 16 along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

The effect will be similar to that recorded last year, which meteorologists called “Godzilla”, and which traveled more than 5,000 kilometers from the African continent to the Caribbean, Central America and part of the eastern and southern coasts of the United States.

The great cloud loaded with tons of dust will be present this Wednesday, having as a specific point of arrival the central region of the state, the Fox35 channel in Orlando warned this Tuesday.

Likewise, professional meteorologists established that the presence of the phenomenon will go until Saturday of next week, so it could represent an unpleasant situation for people allergic to dust, whose health will be affected, and even more so for those who are passing through a contagion of the Covid-19 virus.

For his part to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, Joseph Prospero, emeritus professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), said that “it’s going to be a big dust outbreak.”

The scientist who has been studying this type of phenomenon for decades, acknowledged in an interview with EFE last year that this type of particles “can have health consequences.”

According to El Heraldo expressed that, in research carried out by this professional, air quality standards indicate that the lungs can absorb dust particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, while all those that are less than ten micrometers enter the nostrils and windpipe.

Two types of particles that African dust has in a high concentration, so “it is a great health problem for those with respiratory problems,” Prospero said.

Allergic symptoms similar to Covid-19

Dr. Richard Broyles, a specialist in the respiratory system at Baptist Health System, last year when this same phenomenon occurred, warned that the dust of the Sahara could cause respiratory problems with symptoms very similar to those of Covid-19, except for suffering a feverish state.

“Many of the symptoms are similar, such as coughing, wheezing, chest congestion, and flu-like body aches. But a sign that they are not just allergies is fever, “he said.

Consequently, to face the return of this African dust cloud, the professional made some recommendations to allergy sufferers, regarding the use of masks to act as a barrier to the entry of particles, and to prevent the spread of germs when coughing, as well as to control body temperature.

“Allergies do not cause fever, but covid-19 can because it is a virus. Therefore, monitor your temperature and seek attention if the temperature rises, ”I advise in statements cited by ViveUSA.

But not all is negative, according to the Sun Sentinal, the dust cloud is likely to smother a developing storm system heading toward the Caribbean from Africa, preventing it from turning into a tropical depression or something more dangerous. And it could offer South Florida some protection from thunderstorms this weekend as it arrives from its journey across the ocean.

“It has been moving across the Atlantic for the past few days and is expected to be in the area around Friday or Saturday,” said Sammy Hadi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami. “Act to prevent widespread thunderstorms and rains. It could still have rains and thunderstorms, but the coverage would be much lower if it did not have Saharan dust. “

Finally, Monica Pognon, Broward County’s chief of air quality, said her office is monitoring the column, which appears to be smaller than the one that arrived last summer. “We are seeing it,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to have an impact on air quality.”

Adding that if readings for particulate matter, which means small particles like dust, escalate into the unhealthy zone, he said the county would issue an alert to warn people with respiratory problems to limit outdoor activities. But the Saharan dust can pass without much impact on air quality, he said.

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