Kansas City, MO - An immense plume of dust blown off the Sahara Desert is swirling over much of the southern US and will reach Kansas City this weekend. However, no dust storm or haboob is expected, according to KMBC meteorologist Nick Bender.
This unique weather phenomenon is known as the Saharan Air Layer, which routinely pushes dust off the African continent and brings it westward toward North America on the trade winds.
However, this dust plume is particularly large and we could see the the skies over Kansas City darken, perhaps look a little milky and hazy. And it could afford us some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
A Saharan dust plume blowing across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa is nothing new, or even special to 2020.
In fact "large plumes of Saharan dust routinely track into the Atlantic Ocean from late spring into early fall. Every so often, when the dust plume is large enough and trade winds set up just right, the dust can travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic and into the U.S.," CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink said.
While the dust will mostly stay thousands of feet aloft, it can cause issues for those with respiratory problems as some dust will settle down to earth, and the atmosphere clogged with thick dust can trap air pollutants.
Dr. Bill Barkman, a pulmonologist with the University of Kansas Health System, says if you have respiratory issues, or serious asthma, your best bet is to stay inside where the air is filtered.