A huge plume of dust and sand, blown by the wind from the Sahara Desert, has finally reached the U.S. mainland.
It's one of the most significant Saharan dust events in decades, forecasters said.
The densest plume of dust began to emerge off western Africa last weekend and has now moved into the Gulf of Mexico and the South, the Weather Channel said.
The mass of extremely dry and dusty air known as the Saharan Air Layer forms over the Sahara Desert and moves across the North Atlantic every three to five days from late spring to early fall, peaking in late June to mid-August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It can occupy a roughly 2-mile thick layer in the atmosphere, the agency said.
"The main impacts of the Saharan dust are a whitening of the sky during daylight hours, redder sunsets, and decreased air quality," the National Weather Service said.
Here are a few images from social media of the dust as it settled over the southern U.S.:
— Stu Ostro (@StuOstro) June 26, 2020
— Mike Gallagher (@mikegallagher24) June 26, 2020
— NWS Corpus Christi (@NWSCorpus) June 26, 2020
— Nicole Penny ☀ (@npenny2012) June 26, 2020
The #SaharanDust has arrived in Galveston, Texas! 👀
No spectacular, colorful sunrise this morning. 😕@Plume_Labs says air quality has dropped to unhealthy levels at the coast. ☁️
We’ll have another #SaharanAirLayer live report at 8:30a EDT / 7:30a CDT on @accuweather 📺 pic.twitter.com/p9SgnGDAyx
— Bill Wadell (@BillWadell) June 26, 2020
— Lauren Linahan (@LaurenWTVM) June 26, 2020
— Lizzie (@pi_lizzie) June 26, 2020
— Chi’Nese Henry 🌈 Pre-k Collaborative Teacher🌈 (@chinesehenry) June 26, 2020
— RJ Byrne (@therjbyrne) June 26, 2020
— KCTV5 News (@KCTV5) June 26, 2020
Did you notice the hazy skies? The #SaharanDust plume we've been watching for the past week has finally made it to the Gulf coast, as seen on satellite yesterday. Expect this to stick around for the next day or two before conditions begin to improve later this weekend. #MOBwx pic.twitter.com/LealSh8jJg
— NWS Mobile (@NWSMobile) June 26, 2020