Cancun, Q.R. — A Sahara dust storm has made its way across the seas and into the Mexican Caribbean as it continues toward the US.
A satellite image from NASA shows the massive plume of dust that stretches from Africa into the Caribbean. The Sahara dust cloud is currently over the Caribbean Sea and portions of the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA’s forecast model shows the westernmost portion of the dust plume spreading across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and into coastal Texas late this week and into the weekend.
According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the dust is expected to continue westward into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday and Friday where it could affect Cancun before arriving in east Texas over the weekend.
Meteorologist say that the haze, which is actually dust, occurs often during the summer months, however, it is not common for the sand to make its way to Texas. They say this particular journey is more than 5,000 miles long.
According to Chris Dole of Weather.com, hazy skies have already appeared across the Caribbean Islands, contributing to the brilliant sunrise in the Dominican Republic Tuesday morning.
Saharan dust tracks as far west as the Caribbean Sea, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico multiple times each year and can affect tropical development, sometimes squelching thunderstorm chances for a particular day.
Strong winds associated with the dusty air mass known as the Saharan air layer, can also lead to an increase in vertical wind shear, hindering tropical development.
Depending on wind trajectory, the dust could reach Cancun and the tip of the Yucatan Thursday or Friday before continuing toward Texas.