A larger-than-normal cloud of dust, kicked up by winds over the Sahara Desert, is moving across the Atlantic Ocean and will reach parts of the U.S. -- including Texas and other Gulf Coast states -- by the end of this week, Severe Weather Europe reported.
Officially known as a Saharan Air Layer, events like this happen pretty regularly. Routine late spring-early summer weather patterns over the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa kick up Saharan dust into the atmosphere. Then, carried by the same tropical winds that move hurricanes and tropical storms into this part of the Western Hemisphere, the dust cloud is moved across the Atlantic and toward the U.S. and Caribbean.
The one that's currently making its way across the Atlantic is larger than usual. Further, the concentration of dust within is denser than usual, tweeted University of Maryland scientist Santiago Gassó.
"This dust event over the N. Atlantic is unusual not only in the extent but also in large area w/high dust concentration," he wrote.
And it's expected to reach the southernmost portions of the mainland U.S. -- to include parts of Florida, Texas, and Louisiana -- by the end of this week.