Huge African Dust Cloud Expected to Hit Louisiana Next Week
Brace yourself, next week is going to be a little weird. I know that that's a bold statement after the last two years, but when a dust storm blowing in from the other side of the world starts setting off alarms all across the south - I'm going to place in that into the "unusual" column.
Winds are expected to carry dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa across the south and deep into Texas next week, bringing some strange effects along with it. This "dust plume" occurs when high winds scoop up dust and sand and push it up into the troposphere (between 3.7 and 6.2 miles up) where strong currents like the jet stream can carry these huge clouds vast distances.
Those caught in its path can see incredibly colorful sunsets, possibly get caught in some "blood rain," and even experience some pretty intense allergy-like symptoms - all thanks to the dust from the world's 3rd largest desert (technically the Arctic and the Antarctic are larger deserts by a few million square miles). Just a heads up, don't think your allergy medicine will protect you. As KXAN points out, this sand is an irritant not an allergen.
Before you start putting this together with the recent "Blood Moon" and breaking out your apocalypse bingo card, just know that a giant cloud of dust blowing across the Atlantic ocean and across our country isn't really all that uncommon. Last year, 2 or 3 of these things rode the wind from Africa to the U.S. to literally cast an ominous shadow on us. Even more surprising, the ominous phenomenon isn't all bad either.
According to Fox 35 Florida Meteorologist Jayme King, despite the many negatives associated with the dust storm there may be a pretty solid positive. The theory is that these clouds of fine sand interfere with the formation of tropical storm systems that could become hurricanes.