When will Giant Saharan dust cloud hit Florida? Might produce Covid-like symptoms

Health experts claim that the allergic symptoms caused by the Saharan dust storm might mimic those from Covid-19


                            When will Giant Saharan dust cloud hit Florida? Might produce Covid-like symptoms
Saharan dust cloud was swept off Africa by strong winds across the deserts of Mali and Mauritania (Image used for representation: Photo by Shannon Arledge/USMC via Getty Images)

A massive Saharan dust cloud will hit parts of Florida this weekend. The plume might dampen storm activity but could worsen air pollution. The storm is expected to cause trouble for some people with allergies and other respiratory problems.

Some health experts even claim that the allergic symptoms caused by the dust storm might mimic those from Covid-19. It was swept off Africa by strong winds across the deserts of Mali and Mauritania. As the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season is upon us we've already seen the loss of lives and properties in recent casualties caused by storms. Tropical Depression Claudette wreaked havoc through the South-Eastern US and claimed 12 lives.

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According to NOAA, "Sunsets and sunrises take on more yellow and reddish hues because the low-angle sunlight passes through more of the atmosphere before it reaches your eyes. A heavy load of dust in the atmosphere can enhance this effect, leading to longer-lasting, duskier colors that cause vivid sunsets and sunrises." Dry winds carrying Sahara dust into the US might smother storm systems in the area by drying out tropical air. According to experts, humid air feeds turbulent weather across well-traveled hurricane routes.

Sammy Hadi, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "It acts to prevent widespread showers and thunderstorms,"  You could still have showers and thunderstorms, but the coverage would be much less if you didn’t have Saharan dust." According to NASA, about 60 million tons of the Sahara Desert’s dust floats into the atmosphere annually. The dust is expected to worsen the air quality. According to AdventHealth Centra Care Medical's Director Dr Tim Hendrix, the Saharan dust could cause respiratory symptoms similar to a brush fire, which means the dust could trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms.

Hendrix says if someone has sneezing and congestion and isn’t sure if they have been introduced to Covid-19, they should still get tested for the virus. "Because it still could be COVID-19. We are still seeing people come in and say, ‘Oh I’m having allergies.’ We run a test and they’re positive for COVID and they didn’t know it."

The Saharan dust concentrations are forecast to be moderate over Florida and moderate to heavy over Cuba and the Bahamas. According to Severe Weather Europe, the high pressure over southern US acts as a barrier for the dust cloud and keeps it confined to the southernmost states only. The dust concentrations might be moderate to heavy for southern Florida, and low to moderate for other states.

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