Every year, thunderstorms around the Sahara in Africa kick up a ton of sand into the atmosphere which is then picked up by the jet stream and carried over the Atlantic Ocean into the United States. Usually this is an early summer event but that dust cloud is coming early this year, as in next week early. We'll start seeing the effects in East Texas Monday morning.

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Where does this dust come from?

Bordering the Sahara is the African Saheel region. Wind from thunderstorms in the area will kick up sand in the Sahara into the atmosphere. From there, that sand is carried across the Atlantic Ocean. That dust will hit the lower East Coast of the United States then make its way into the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually, that dust will be seen in East Texas.

How will we know the desert dust has arrived?

For one, we will notice some very colorful sunrises and sunsets with the sun shining through the dust. But also for those who are sensitive to air quality, you may notice some allergy type symptoms or even some difficulty in breathing. If we get any rain while this dust is in the air, our vehicles will be very dirty afterwards as the rain will push that dust to the surface.

The Saharan dust does have an interesting benefit

As that dust travels through the atmosphere and over the Gulf of Mexico, it will actually help in preventing tropical storms or hurricanes. That also means we'll see some hotter days as the dust will act like a blanket and keep that heat in.

All in all, this is a natural weather event that occurs in various degrees of severity every year. Just be prepared for some extra haze starting Sunday evening into Monday morning.

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