The Georgia Department of Public Health said Saturday the dust cloud is expected to hang around for the next few days and people, especially those with chronic lung conditions, should protect themselves.
It’s normal for Saharan dust to reach the US every hurricane season, but this year’s cloud is historic, forecasters said. Georgia health officials say the dust is the densest it’s been in 50-60 years.
Air quality alerts related to the dust are posted across portions of the Ohio River Valley, mid-Atlantic and Southeast, CNN meteorologists said Sunday.
The dust can cause eye, nose and throat irritation and those with allergies or asthma may experience wheezing.
Georgia health officials urged residents to limit time spent outdoors if it appears dusty or hazy. When indoors, residents should keep windows and doors closed and run their air conditioner with the fresh-air intake closed.
Another round of Saharan dust is expected to impact areas of Texas and the Louisiana Gulf Coast by mid-week, CNN meteorologists said, but it won’t be as dense as the plume currently affecting the Southeast.