NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert in northern Africa is blowing across the Atlantic. The plume that is now nicknamed the “Gorilla Dust Cloud” will not affect the state, but eastern and southeastern New Mexico may see some dust.
Friday morning, light dust is expected to be seen in eastern New Mexico. The dust will continue to impact the eastern part of the state through Sunday midday, with dust getting pushed further east Sunday evening.
The thickest dust from the plume will stay out of New Mexico and off towards central and eastern Texas. The Gorilla Dust Cloud is expected to reach the shores of Texas by Thursday evening and move into parts of central Texas Friday.
Another plume of dust will move into the southeast United States early-mid next week, but New Mexico should stay mostly clear of that dust infiltration.
Where is it coming from?
The dust is making the more than 6,000 mile journey from the Sahara Desert.
It might seem to work against typical weather patterns, but dust in the United States from the Sahara happens every year. While it’s not abnormal to see the Saharan dust make its annual journey to the United States, we are expected to see more of it than usual.
Individual dust particles are very small but when they combine they make a large plume. The “Gorilla Dust Cloud” is so big that it can be picked up on satellite images and seen from the international space station.
Dust & air quality
Since dust will be moving in, the quality of air may be affected. Only light dust is expected to reach eastern New Mexico but people may experience irritation in their eyes, nose and throat. Anyone with preexisting conditions linked to heart disease, lung disease, allergies or asthma may also experience negative side effects due to the dust.
Dust & Sunsets
Get ready for colorful eastern New Mexico sunrises. Due to the dust, the eastern part of the state may see some bright pink, orange and red sunrises this weekend. The beautiful New Mexico sunsets should remain the same, aside from a hazy looking sky.