Last updated on January 5, 2021
Riviera Maya, Q.R. — The State Coordination of Civil Protection in Quintana Roo (Coeproc) reports that the highest concentration of traveling Sahara sand has reached the region. The agency says that over the next day or so, local air quality will improve as the tail of the sand finishes passing over the Yucatan Peninsula.
Adrián Martínez Ortega of the Coordinación Estatal de Protección Civil en Quintana Roo (Coeproc) said that according to the National Meteorological Service (SMN), the dust cloud of the Sahara began its passage over the Yucatan Peninsula and the slope of the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, explaining that its maximum concentration has been reached.
“In days gone by, a cloud of dust from the Sahel region in the Sahara, a phenomenon that is common during spring and summer, reached the Yucatan Peninsula,” he said adding that the dust has been monitored through the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea where it has caused a notable reduction in visibility, affecting maritime and air navigation, in addition to generating a hazy sky.
When these dust clouds move through the tropical Atlantic, they limit the development or intensification of tropical cyclones, since they are large extensions of dry air, he noted.
During its passing, the State Health Secretariat (SESA) issued a series of recommendations to reduce the discomfort from the presence of the dust cloud, mainly among people with chronic respiratory diseases. The health authority suggested using sunglasses and a mouth covering as well as covering drinking water sources to avoid contamination.
Over the past week, an unusually large area of Sahara dust began to cover the Cancun, Riviera Maya region, creating hazy skies and increased temperatures. For the most part, the dust cloud has moved off, now affecting parts of southern Florida, including the city of Miami, however, another large area of sand has been captured on satellite moving out of the Sahara and travelling across the Atlantic.