Hazy skies return to Texas starting on the Fourth of July, and it won’t just be from fireworks smoke.

The First Warning Weather team is tracking some of the first Saharan dust Texas will see this summer blowing across the Atlantic, forecast to obscure our visibility a bit starting Tuesday and continuing through the week.

These waves of dust are common in the summertime, caused by thunderstorm winds which kick up dust from the Sahara Desert and loft it several thousand feet in the air.

Prevailing easterly winds blow the dust all the way across the Atlantic, affecting air quality first in the Caribbean Islands, then occasionally in the southern U.S.

On its journey, the dry, windy environment in a Saharan airmass layer (SAL) makes it difficult for tropical cyclones to form — part of the reason Atlantic hurricane season is so quiet at the moment.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is forecasting a slight reduction in Austin’s air quality from “good” to “moderate”. This will have little to no health impact, even on sensitive populations.

Separately, smoke from fireworks commonly degrades air quality on a local level the evening of the Fourth of July into the morning of July 5. Those with respiratory conditions may want to limit outdoor exertion during that time.

Source: kxan

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