African dust in Texas expected to dissipate by mid-week

It’s a phenomenon that happens nearly every summer: a pipeline of mineral dust travels across the Atlantic ocean from Africa, making it all the way to Central Texas. Unfortunately, this dust can settle near the ground and have adverse effects on people. Dry eyes and itchy throats are common. The dust can have more negative impacts on people with respiratory issues, too, like asthma, making it uncomfortable to be outdoors for extended periods of time.

After Tuesday, we’ll likely see some improvements in our air quality. Here’s the air quality forecast from the TCEQ through mid-week

DISCUSSION:

Tuesday 07/25/2017
Winds may be light enough and incoming background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” in the Dallas-Fort Worth and El Paso areas, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening.

African dust will continue over most of the state, including lighter amounts arriving in far West Texas, resulting in the overall daily PM2.5 AQI reaching “Moderate” levels in most spots along and east of a line from Langtry to Abilene to Wichita Falls and the upper end of the “Good” range with isolated “Moderate” levels elsewhere in West Texas and the Panhandle. The dust may begin to decrease in parts of South Texas later in the day as the current dust cloud moves out of the region.

Wednesday 07/26/2017
Winds may be light enough and incoming background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” in the El Paso area, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening.

Dissipating and increasingly patchy African dust will linger over much of the state, resulting in decreasing fine particulate levels from south to north as the dust moves out of the state. However, the daily PM2.5 AQI could still reach the lower end of the “Moderate” range for the day in parts of the eastern two-thirds of the state overall and the upper end of the “Good” range elsewhere in West Texas and the Panhandle.

Thursday 07/27/2017 Outlook
Winds may be light enough and incoming background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening.

Lingering light patchy African dust will persist over portions of the state, potentially raising the daily PM2.5 AQI into the “Moderate” range primarily in parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Tyler-Longview, and Victoria areas.

Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and/or lower incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.

Friday 07/28/2017 Outlook
Winds may be light enough and incoming background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” or possibly higher in parts of the Houston and San Antonio areas and “Moderate” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening.

Very light amounts of lingering patchy African dust may recirculate over parts of Southeast Texas along the coast, potentially raising the daily PM2.5 AQI into the “Moderate” range primarily in parts of the Beaumont-Port Arthur and Victoria areas.

Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and/or lower incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.

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