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Sahara Desert dust settles in Victoria

By Sonny Long
Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:08 a.m.
Updated Aug. 9, 2013 at 3:09 a.m.

Dust from the Sahara Desert has made its way across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Texas. It has created hazy skies, and some of it has settled on Victoria resident Raymond Chapa's car hood.

That little something extra in the air the past couple of days has traveled a long way.

Dust from the Sahara Desert in northern Africa has reached the Crossroads, leaving its calling card of hazy air and sand particles settling on vehicles and other objects.

Although it doesn't always reach Texas, this actually happens every year, said John Metz of the National Weather Service.

The Sahara covers about 3.3 million square miles and "when dust storms form they can sometimes stretch for thousands of miles," Metz said.

"They blow out to sea and are picked up by the trade winds. They consist of millions of tons of sand particles in the atmosphere."

Dr. Bain Cate, director of the Victoria County Health Department, said the usual precautions should be taken for those with respiratory issues.

"As is the case with any situation where air quality is diminished, those people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and any of the restrictive airway diseases should stay inside when possible.

"If they must get out, a simple respiratory mask that is available at pharmacies, should be used," Cate said.

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