The Sahara Desert may be nearly halfway around the world in the northernmost part of Africa, so you might think that it doesn’t directly affect you in any way. Don’t be fooled. It’s important to know about the Saharan Dust Storm: everything you need to know. It’s important to be prepared!
For thousands of years, the desert sands have had a significant impact on every creature and plant living over 6,000 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean in the Amazon rainforests of South America.
Every year the migrating sandstorm and dust bring mineral deposits that help make life flourish there. Without the Sahara, life in these rainforests would not have looked the same.
Saharan Dust Storm: Everything You Need to Know
Most recently, the Saharan Desert has been unusually dry, even for a desert. You may have already seen or read about it in the news recently. Because of this, the heavy winds of Africa have lifted more dust into the atmosphere than what’s considered to be normal. Now, this is where it affects you and your family. Continue reading about the Saharan Dust Storm and everything that you need to know about it.
How Does Saharan Dust Affect Weather?
As a country that doesn’t deal with dust storms very often, you may be wondering how this affects the weather. One of the effects the Saharan dust storm will have on the weather is increased vertical wind shear. There is also a chance for unfavorable cyclone development. You can get a closer look into how the Saharan Dust affects the weather by reading this article.
How Long Will the Saharan Dust Storm Last?
As the Saharan Dust Storm gets here, you may be wondering how long it will last. Well, experts think that this particular dust storm will last around 3-5 days. This air layer will form over the desert during early fall, later summer, and spring. This process happens every year. These pulses of warm dry air continue to cycle every 3-5 days. Read more on why the dust is blowing into the USA.
Causes & Facts of the Saharan Dust
You may be wondering what causes this Saharan Dust. It’s not complicated, but this dust is formed by a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara Desert.
Saharan dust travels by convection, which means it reaches very high altitudes. From the high altitudes, the dust can be transported anywhere in the world.
According to the New York Post, this Saharan dust storm is the biggest dust storm happening in 50 years.
One of the biggest concerns of the Sahara Dust Storm is the health issues it may cause people. According to the New York Post, “Health officials warned that the weather event could weaken the respiratory systems of people battling COVID-19, along with some healthy people. They recommended that residents in the impacted areas stay inside.”
Here is another reason why we need face masks in our preps. No debate here to decide what mask(s) work for people. By now, face masks are the normal (in most cases) to keep ourselves well and others around us as from getting sick. I know, I know, I have heard people say it’s my Constitutional Right to decide for myself if I want to wear a face mask. I don’t want any arguments, it’s not my style, and I won’t be bullied either. Enough said.
When someone is in an affected area of a dust storm, it can really affect the quality of the air they are breathing. If someone already has respiratory issues it can cause runny noses, coughing, and wheezing. Also, when breathing in dust over a long period of time, a person may experience prolonged breathing issues and even lung problems. Source
Affect on Agriculture
As crazy as it may sound, dust storms don’t just affect humans, they affect agriculture. In fact, dust can damage crops and even harm livestock. In past dust storms, the world has seen power failures, soil erosion, and can even cause the loss of the land’s nutrients. Source
Other Issues with Dust Storms
Although most of us have not seen a true massive dust storm in our lives, they have dire consequences. One of the biggest concerns of a dust storm is visibility while driving. Airports may be forced to close and infrastructure can be damaged. It’s truly hard to predict what can happen during a dust storm, especially a large one.
If a dust storm is more local to where you live or a travel destination, the storm can be hard on your car. Once Mark and I were traveling from Southern Utah to Las Vegas to visit family. Just outside of Vegas we encountered a significant dust storm. We pulled over, but the winds were so strong the dust pitted the windshield and paint on our car. If you hear about a dust storm headed your way, get that vehicle inside the garage for protection.
Due to the strength of many dust storms your home could be affected if you don’t have proper seals around doors and windows. If after a storm you see the dust on the floor and on window sills, that’s a sign it’s time to replace or upgrade the weatherstrips and other seals in your home.
How to be Safe in a Dust Storm
In this article about the Saharan Dust Storm: Everything you need to know, I wanted to touch base with how you can stay safe during a storm. During this dust storm, there are quite a few things you can do to remain safe.
If you are driving and the dust storm hits, then you really have no other choice but to pull over. Dust storms are notorious for damaging your ability to see. So, don’t be shy about pulling over when you see a safe place to park and waiting for the storm to pass and for visibility to resume. Make sure you turn off your lights too because this can actually trick people into thinking you are driving. Also, make sure you pull over far enough and out of the travel lane.
Pack an Emergency Kit
In 2020, you can never be prepared enough. One of the best things you can do is pack an emergency kit. A car emergency kit can have everything you need to be safe while traveling! Of course, I recommend packing a car emergency kit all the time, not just for Saharan Dust Storms. Source In case you missed my post on How To Make Your Own Emergency Car Kit
Again, one of the best things you can do if you live in an impacted area is to stay inside. Not everyone knows how the Saharan Dust Storm will impact the USA. Keep in mind that this is one of the largest dust storms the USA has seen in 50 years. Source
Also, listen to your local news and weather station. It’s important to be informed and realize the dust storm will affect various parts of the USA differently.
Try not to panic. I wanted to create the Saharan Dust Storm: everything you need to know guide, so you know what to expect. If you’re in an impacted area, stay inside and stay safe. We will all watch how this storm unfolds and affects the USA and the rest of the world. May God Bless this world, Linda.
Copyright Images: Sahara Desert Morocco Deposit photos_185411884_s-2019, Horse in Dust Storm Deposit photos_32083419_s-2019, Sahara Desert Dust Storm AdobeStock_130056884 by DorSteffen, Dust storm in a field AdobeStock_269293748 by Katsiaryna