African Saharan Dust… it is not something you worry about when you live in Ohio. When you live in the south, you typically watch for the dust in the summertime.
In fact, when you live in the tropics, during hurricane season the dust can actually work in a positive way by inhibiting tropical storm/hurricane development. On the negative side, when the dust particles descend down to the ground, this can cause a bit of a breathing issue for sensitive groups.
Above is the AirNow forecast from the EPA for Columbus for today (Wednesday) and Thursday. Notice the numbers actually get better on Thursday, but that is due to the rain falling, and helping the air quality.
In bad cases, you will see some of this dust covering things on the ground, including cars outside. But again, this is more typical in the south, not in the Ohio Valley, but that is what is happening the rest of this week.
What to expect over the next few days
Upper level winds overnight tonight will continue to pull the dust northward into our backyards as we head into Thursday morning.
Model forecasts show the bulk of the dust crossing Ohio by mid-day on Thursday, but with fair upper level support, we should see this dissipating as it moves east northeast. Also we are going to have a good deal of cloud cover and rain around the area, which will make it hard to notice the dust high above.
Rainfall will also help mitigate dust from being a big breathing issue on Thursday.
By Friday the mixing in the atmosphere spreads a much lighter layer of the dust across the region.
And Friday night into Saturday we will see a cold front dropping south, and the winds associated with this boundary should be enough to the be final blow to the dust in the area.
If you were looking for an easy way to see this uncommon visitor to the Buckeye State, there will not be one. The clouds overhead will block this hazy looking view above.
Crazy to think, but this is our 2nd different visitor to our upper skies this week, with smoke from the wildfires out west aiding us in seeing some spectacular sunsets earlier this week.
If you have any questions about smoke, dust, or any other weather questions, email me firstname.lastname@example.org