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Saharan Desert dust to bring hazy Austin skies this week

Saharan dust is coming to Central Texas this summer. (NASA Earth Observatory/Flickr)

Dust from the Saharan Air Layer took a trip over the Atlantic Ocean and into Austin's skies Tuesday, causing a hazy sunset and air quality that was labeled "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" by the National Weather Service.


The African desert's dust takes a trip across the Atlantic every three to five days in late spring, summer and early fall and tends to hit Central Texas most from mid-June to late August.



Other than creating vivid sunsets, the dry Saharan air can make the sky appear milky white at midday. Just one dust cloud can be as large as the United States—and each cloud can help prevent tropical cyclones from occurring in the humid ocean air.

Those who are most sensitive to changes in air quality—including the elderly, young children and those with respiratory conditions—should limit their time outside as dust levels peak in the Austin skies Thursday.

And while the dust can cause a sore throat or itchy eyes, Saharan dust is an irritant that cannot be alleviated with allergy medications.

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