Saharan dust returns to San Antonio. Here’s what to expect.

A layer of Saharan dust has arrived in San Antonio and surrounding areas, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service. The fresh supply of dust was airlifted from the Sahara and began its trek to the U.S. last weekend. 

Meteorologists from KXAN reported low concentrations of dust are already over the Austin/San Antonio area, but higher amounts will move in Wednesday night and peak by Thursday before airing out on the weekend. 

Winds pick up an estimated 100 million tons of dust from the Sahara Desert each year, and a sizable portion of it blows out over the North Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA. Saharan dust season typically lasts from June through August. 

Saharan dust is known to be a bother for those with allergies and to create stunning sunsets. Dust can degrade air quality and have negative health effects, particularly for people with lung conditions, according to NASA.

Here are some tips on how to alleviate any dust problems, according to Chris Thompson, founder and medical director of the Aspire Allergy & Sinus Center. 

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you go outside, take a shower to wash off all dust particles when you get back inside.
  • Rinse your nose with just a salt water rinse.
  • Wear a mask (N95 masks preferably). 

Thompson also urges those who suffer from lung conditions and allergies to watch out for when the dust reaches its peak amount in the city.  When dust is particularly high, you can actually see it as an orange-brownish haze on the horizon during the day, he added.

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