Crimson sunrises and sunsets will color the sky of eastern Texas in the US this week - an "Abnormally Large Dust Cloud" from the Sahara makes an approximately 8,000 km trek across the Atlantic, foreshadowing the possibility of red sunrises and sunsets over the coast of the Gulf. However, it can also pose a health hazard to those living along the Gulf Coast.
While it is not uncommon for trade winds carrying dust from the Sahara to the Gulf Coast, this plume of sand has caught the attention of meteorologists.
"According to the scientists from whom I received some information, they say this is an abnormally large dust cloud," said senior meteorologist and lead hurricane expert Dan Kotlowski. "One of the things I've noticed is that this dust started to rise off the coast of Africa a few days ago, and in fact, maybe more than a week ago. And it's still coming. It's an incredibly long area of dust."
The dust that makes this journey from the Sahara to the Gulf coast is common in June, July and sometimes early August. Caught up in the trade winds and lifted higher into the atmosphere, the dust is trapped as the wind blows it away across the Atlantic.
The dust is expected to reach the Gulf Coast between Tuesday and Thursday. In foggy skies, the sun's rays will have to bend around the dust particles, creating bright red sunrises and sunsets.
"It all depends on the concentration of air particles or dust that will be there," said Kotlowski. "But from what I've seen so far, quite a bit of dust is going to enter these areas on the Texas coast, so they'll see it."
Although the dust will hang higher in the air, it can pose a health hazard. If any of the fine dust combines with other particles in the air, such as ozone or other dust particles or smoke, it could affect people who are more prone to respiratory problems.
There will likely be several reports of poor air quality from east Texas next week.