'Gorilla Dust Cloud' formed from the biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years hits the US and begins its sweep over Florida and Texas - sparking health warnings for the vulnerable amid spikes in COVID-19 (14 Pics)

The biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years has hit the US and is headed for Florida, Texas and other states already struggling with COVID-19 surges, sparking fresh fears of respiratory problems among Americans. 
The so-called 'Gorilla Dust Cloud' struck Mississippi's gulf coast Thursday after charting its path across the Caribbean this week where air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels.
The 3,500-mile-long cloud traveled 5,000 miles from North Africa before reaching the region stretching from Florida west into Texas and north into North Carolina through Arkansas, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. 

It will hang over the US Southeast this weekend and into the middle of next week, shrouding the region in a brown haze and deteriorating the air quality in states already buckling under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. 
Experts are warning vulnerable people to stay inside in states including Texas and Florida as the poor air quality caused by the dust storm coupled with the skyrocketing cases and hospitalizations of the deadly virus poses a double threat to public health. 
The biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years has hit the US and is headed for Florida, Texas and other states already struggling with COVID-19 surges
The biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years has hit the US and is headed for Florida, Texas and other states already struggling with COVID-19 surges
The so-called 'Gorilla Dust Cloud' struck Mississippi's gulf coast Thursday after charting its path across the Caribbean this week where air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels
The so-called 'Gorilla Dust Cloud' struck Mississippi's gulf coast Thursday after charting its path across the Caribbean this week where air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels
Strong warm winds over the Sahara desert typically whip up sand at this time of year and carry it across the Atlantic to the Americas. 
But the dust is more dense this year than it has been in half a century, several meteorologists told Reuters.
'It's a really dry layer of air that contains these very fine dust particulates. It occurs every summer,' said NWS meteorologist Patrick Blood. 
'Some of these plumes contain more particles, and right now we expecting a very large plume of dust in the Gulf Coast.'  
The dry air mass that carries the dust can suppress tropical storm and hurricane formation and can enhance and illuminate sunrises and sunsets, meteorologists said. 
The dust cloud swept across the Atlantic from Africa over the past week, covering swathes of the Caribbean including Jamaica, Barnados and Puerto Rico Sunday.
The dust cloud is seen over the city of Bridgetown, Barbados, Monday
The dust cloud is seen over the city of Bridgetown, Barbados, Monday 
Poor visibility in Puerto Rico at the weekend. The dust cloud swept across the Atlantic from Africa over the past week, covering swathes of the Caribbean including Jamaica, Barnados and Puerto Rico Sunday
Poor visibility in Puerto Rico at the weekend. The dust cloud swept across the Atlantic from Africa over the past week, covering swathes of the Caribbean including Jamaica, Barnados and Puerto Rico Sunday
Fishermen carry on working on their boats as a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert covers the buildings of Punta Paitilla, in Panama City, Panama
Fishermen carry on working on their boats as a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert covers the buildings of Punta Paitilla, in Panama City, Panama
San Salvador in El Salvador is covered in dust from the Sahara desert Thursday
San Salvador in El Salvador is covered in dust from the Sahara desert Thursday
Typically blue skies turned into a milky-brown haze and Jamaica's Blue Mountains, usually seen towering over Kingston, were hidden behind a white cloud.
Air quality fell to 'hazardous' levels and weather forecasters for the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique warned the area was suffering its worst haze in at least a decade.
By Wednesday, much of the skies over Cuba were darkened by the dust plumes and images showed poor visibility in Havana.
Fishermen were pictured in Panama working on their boats as a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert covered the buildings of Punta Paitilla, in Panama City.
The dust cloud reached south Florida Thursday and is now moving through Texas into North Carolina and Arkansas where residents can expect poor air quality, hazy skies and low visibility until the middle of next week.  
Fears are mounting over the health effects of the Gorilla Dust Cloud as it plows through US states where record-high coronavirus infections have been recorded in the last week.
The dry air mass that carries the dust can suppress tropical storm and hurricane formation and can enhance and illuminate sunrises and sunsets, meteorologists said, such as this image sunset captured in Florida on Thursday
The dry air mass that carries the dust can suppress tropical storm and hurricane formation and can enhance and illuminate sunrises and sunsets, meteorologists said, such as this image sunset captured in Florida on Thursday 
Skies over Florida Thursday. The dust cloud reached south Florida Thursday and is now moving through Texas into North Carolina and Arkansas where residents can expect poor air quality, hazy skies and low visibility until the middle of next week
Skies over Florida Thursday. The dust cloud reached south Florida Thursday and is now moving through Texas into North Carolina and Arkansas where residents can expect poor air quality, hazy skies and low visibility until the middle of next week
The visibility out of a plane flying over Tallahassee, Florida, Thursday
The visibility out of a plane flying over Tallahassee, Florida, Thursday
'There's emerging evidence of potential interactions between air pollution and the risk of COVID, so at this stage we are concerned,' said Gregory Wellenius, an professor of environmental health at Boston University's School of Public Health.
Air pollution can be especially detrimental for people who are at risk of or suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, he added. 
Heart and lung problems heighten the risk of severe COVID-19.
Infections across the US have been surging for more than a week after trending down for over six weeks.  
New cases and hospitalizations have been spiking to record levels in states like Arizona, Texas, California and Florida.  
Texas, which was one of the first states to ease lockdown at the end of April, reached record COVID-19 hospitalizations for the 13th day in a row Thursday, with nearly 4,400 patients. 
View of the cloud of Saharan dust over a beach in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico, Thursday
View of the cloud of Saharan dust over a beach in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico, Thursday
Panama City is shrouded in dust as experts warn air pollution can be especially detrimental for people who are at risk of or suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses
Panama City is shrouded in dust as experts warn air pollution can be especially detrimental for people who are at risk of or suffer from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses
In Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tuesday the dust looms over the skyline. Air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels in the Caribbean
In Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tuesday the dust looms over the skyline. Air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels in the Caribbean
Saharan dust is seen on the Bacardi factory in Catano, Puerto Rico, Monday
Saharan dust is seen on the Bacardi factory in Catano, Puerto Rico, Monday 
Cancun. Strong warm winds over the Sahara desert typically whip up sand at this time of year and carry it across the Atlantic to the Americas
Cancun. Strong warm winds over the Sahara desert typically whip up sand at this time of year and carry it across the Atlantic to the Americas
Statewide, the number of COVID-19 patients has more than doubled in two weeks and more than 11,000 new cases have been recorded in the last two days alone.
With concerns building that the state is headed for a major health crisis, Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday its reopening has been put on 'pause'. 
In Florida, new daily cases surged to 5,508 Wednesday - a 25 percent jump from its previous record of 4,049 on June 20.  
Health experts are urging residents in the areas hit by the Saharan dust plume to stay inside, for fear it could weaken the respiratory systems of people already at risk of the virus.  
'Gorilla Dust Cloud' formed from the biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years hits the US and begins its sweep over Florida and Texas - sparking health warnings for the vulnerable amid spikes in COVID-19 (14 Pics) 'Gorilla Dust Cloud' formed from the biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years hits the US and begins its sweep over Florida and Texas - sparking health warnings for the vulnerable amid spikes in COVID-19 (14 Pics) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:13 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.