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Large Sahara Desert dust plume to create spectacular skies

The plume could impact sky conditions as early as Wednesday evening

ATLANTA — An unusually large plume of dust from the Sahara Desert, known as the Sahara Air Layer, could impact our sky as early as Wednesday evening in Georgia.

The plume of dust kicked up from Haboobs (dust storms) in west Africa was carried across the Atlantic Ocean from the easterly trade-winds.

Visible impacts in southwestern Georgia could begin as early as this evening and into metro Atlanta by sunrise Thursday, according to a model operated by NASA.

Credit: WXIA

Another model brings the plume into Georgia by Saturday morning.

Georgia State Climatologist Bill Murphey says the Department of Natural Resources will be monitoring air quality levels as the dust comes in. He thinks there will be some impact on the air particulate levels in metro Atlanta this weekend and early next week.

As the situation evolves, they could issue air quality alerts.

The scenario itself isn’t unusual and happens every year. The difference in this plume is the amount or thickness of the dust which lead to drastic temporary environmental changes in the Caribbean.

At it’s worst, the plume caused significantly reduced air quality and sky visibility.

The haze was so severe pictures from the US Virgin Islands made it seem like you could look directly at the sun with the naked eye.

Don’t expect the sky to turn into a deep milky haze like the Caribbean when the dust comes into Georgia. The usual impacts we see are colorful sunrises and sunsets.

Both dust models indicate the haze hangs around the southeastern US into early next week.

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