African dust storm rolls in

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jun 29, 2018

As of Friday evening, a quick glance at the Coastal Bend sky was enough to see that African dust had arrived.


Over at the National Weather Service, the cloud appears as a red streak stretching from the continent of Africa to the Coastal Bend.

That red streak is an example of what to expect over at least the next few days, if not weeks, according to local meteorologists at NWS and our own crew on KRIS 6 News.

The dust cloud is made up of fine particles from the Saharan Desert. If you have respiratory problems like asthma, COPD, or allergies, you’ll definitely notice it.

Dr. James Mobley has been in Family Practice for decades and has seen the African dust cloud in years past.

"I expect that we’ll see more ER visits, urgent care visits, things like that during the day. Of course, we’ve got a holiday coming, but are regular clinics up. I expect to see more visits in my office, for instance, once this comes through," Mobley said.

However, even if you don’t have respiratory issues, you may still be affected.

You can have "irritation to the eyes, tickling to the back of the throat and things like that," Mobley listed.

Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, and medical conditions can quickly change.

"When there’s a lot of particulate matter in the air, they can get worse very, very rapidly," Mobley advised.

Kevin Wagner, Meteorologist with NWS, said conditions are ripe for the African dust cloud to stay in the city for about a week.

"It’s been occurring for the past couple of days and we’re expecting it to occur into the next week at least," Wagner said.

Mobley suggests staying indoors, and if you take respiratory medications, keep them handy because you’ll probably need them.