Saharan dust on the move toward Ohio

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Where is it coming from?

Dust is on the way this week making the more than 6,000 mile journey from the Sahara Desert.

This might seem to work against typical weather patterns, but dust in the United States from the Sahara happens every year. While it may not be abnormal to see the Saharan dust make its annual journey to the United States, we are expected to see more of it than usual.

While individual dust particles are very small, they combine to make large plume. This plume of dust is so big that it can be picked up on satellite images and even seen from the International Space Station.

Dust & sunsets:

Get ready for some beautiful sunsets!

The colors that we see at sunrise and sunset are created by light scattering. The scattered sunlight is enhanced by water particles or pollutants, like dust, in the atmosphere.

When more dust is present, there are more particles in the atmosphere for light to refract off of, and in return we’ll see more bright shades of red, orange, yellow and pink.

But, don’t keep those beautiful views to yourself! Remember that you can share them directly with the NBC4 team through the NBC4 mobile weather app.

Dust & air quality:

While we are expecting to see some extra vivid sunrises & sunsets, it might be healthier for some people to admire them from inside.

Since dust is moving in, naturally it will lower our air quality, and can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. Children, older adults can be especially susceptible to negative side effects along with anyone with preexisting conditions linked to heart disease, lung disease, allergies or asthma.

So, make sure that you are taking precautions like staying inside if you have a condition that would be worsened from the extra pollutants in the air.

Saharan dust, storms & tropical weather:

Dust does not kill the development of storms like hurricanes, but it does suppress it.

The big reason for this is this is that it’s bringing in dry, desert air which is the opposite of the moisture needed to fuel a storm. This will not only impact local storms, but as the dust and dry moves over the Atlantic, it will make it hard for tropical storms to grow and develop into hurricanes.

While it could slow down thunderstorms and tropical storm development for now, it does not mean that it will have a lasting impact. The dustiest time of year from this phenomenon can last through June & July.

Hurricane season sees its spike in the fall, after the dust has cleared. So, our already busy 2020 hurricane season is still expected to be very active after this break from the Saharan dust.

When will it get here?

Saharan dust is already moving from the western coast of Africa into the Gulf of Mexico.

This dust is on track to work its way into states like Tennessee & Missouri by Friday, then Ohio by the weekend.

Right now it looks like the leading edge of the dust will cross into Central Ohio after sunrise on Saturday. Dusty conditions will last through the weekend before starting to thin out some on Monday.

Below is the foretasted track of the dust:

Stay tuned for the latest timing and impacts by watching NBC4 or checking in with NBC4i.com/weather or the NBC4 mobile weather app, which is free in the Google Play or App Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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