Saharan Dust Reaches Arkansas. Minor Impact to Air Quality


Little Rock – The surge of Saharan Dust arrived in the Southeast with hazy skies and some impact on air quality. The dust was picked up by winds associated with a strong tropical wave moving off of Africa early last week. the dust has traveled across the Tropical Atlantic, through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the dust is within a layer of air about 1 to 3 miles above the ground. Much of the lower level dust has fallen out of the atmosphere during the trek across The Atlantic, but due to the intensity of this surge of dust some of the low level dust remains at the surface. Air Quality levels along the Gulf Coast have reached the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” category for fine particulates. A few spots, including Houston and Lake Charles, LA have reached unhealthy levels

The dust layer is moving across Arkansas today, but is not directly noticeable due to extensive cloud cover. The dust may be more noticeable Saturday as skies clear out with some hazy sunshine.

Air Quality is expected to remain acceptable (Moderate) for Central Arkansas through Saturday based on the latest forecast from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality

The Air Quality forecast for Central Arkansas will be closely monitored over the next couple of days. The dust layer over Arkansas is expected to thin out by Sunday.

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