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Saharan dust this weekend will bring hazy skies to NC; What to expect

No reason to panic, but folks with respiratory or breathing problems should pay attention
Credit: WFMY

GREENSBORO, N.C. — That big cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert is getting closer to the Carolinas, and is set to arrive this weekend. But, this isn't any reason to panic. We'll mostly just have some hazy skies. 

WFMY News 2's Christian Morgan said, "This time, in particular the dust content of the air is going to be very high as it reaches our area but there's still no reason or need to panic, but folks with breathing or respiratory issues should pay attention."

Officially called the "Saharan Air Layer" this dusty, sandy, dry air from the Sahara Desert routinely moves off the coast of Africa as winds blow from the East.

During the warmer season, meteorologists routinely analyze the concentration of this dusty air as it moves across the Atlantic because it can act to reduce tropical storm formation temporarily, by lowering water temperatures and increasing wind shear over the ocean.

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On Tuesday afternoon, this plume of dust had reached the Caribbean from the Leeward Islands up to the Greater Antilles with hazy skies and reduced visibility. It was easy to see as a brown haze on satellite imagery.

From time to time dust moves off the coast of Africa and across the Atlantic but this time the dust content will be high and winds will be strong enough to carry it to the SE U.S. but it will take the better part of a week before it impacts us.

It'll reach the Carolinas mainly Saturday through Monday.

Credit: WFMY
Hazy skies, lower air quality this weekend as Saharan Dust reaches the Carolinas

Over the weekend the sky won't be as clear with those bright Carolina blue skies like we're used to. We'll have sunshine but it could look a bit dull and hazy or smoky.

Sometimes this dust can make for some interesting sunsets, but could just as well make for a dull and gray sky at sunrise or sunset too.

This won't cause any weather issues but it could impact folks with asthma or breathing problems. as it will reduce air quality. Folks who have trouble breathing or have very bad allergies should consider spending some more time indoors for a couple days.

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