Fort Worth

March 18, 2014

Panhandle dust blows into North Texas

Powerful winds raked West Texas Tuesday afternoon dragging a lot of dust from the plains into North Texas.

If the hazy pall that rolled into North Texas on Tuesday evening dampened your spirits, remember the adage, “It could be worse.”

Just ask people you know around Lubbock and Amarillo.

Powerful winds poured into West Texas on Tuesday afternoon behind an upper-level storm system from the Central Plains.

The winds were also pushing dust into the Metroplex, said Ted Ryan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

“It’s going to look pretty gross here,” Ryan said. “It will be like a brown fog.”

The winds that raked West Texas were packing gusts up to 45-50 mph. But they didn’t just kick up Panhandle dust. They also hauled in dirt from Colorado and Kansas, Ryan said.

Consequently, he added, visibility plummeted to only a half-mile in many West Texas communities.

By Tuesday evening the winds were pushing dust into North Texas.

Ryan, at 7:30 p.m., said the dust was already reported in Breckenridge, Bowie, Graham and Decatur, and it was knocking on the door of Fort Worth.

But winds were expected to slow down closer to North Texas, which meant visibility would be better than in the Panhandle, where it was about two miles, Ryan said.

Still, Ryan advised North Texans with respiratory problems against going outside Tuesday night. He said the dust would probably be settled by Wednesday morning, but people should not be surprised if they find a layer of it coating their vehicles.

The dusty skies Tuesday evening capped a warm day in North Texas.

The official high temperature at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was 82 degrees, but Ryan said the mercury reached 88 degrees at the weather service office in north Fort Worth.

Wednesday will be sunny but significantly cooler, with a high temperature in the mid-60s, Ryan said.

Thursday, the first day of spring, and Friday will be in the mid- to upper 70s, according to the weather service forecast.

There is a 20 percent chance for rain Friday and Saturday in North Texas. Temperatures Saturday and Sunday will be in the low 60s, the weather service said.

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