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Sahara Desert dust blowing in

If you’re coughing and sneezing more than usual this week, you can blame it on the Sahara Desert.

An enormous cloud of Saharan dust stretching from the African coast to the Gulf of Mexico will begin moving through the Dallas-Fort Worth area today and could blanket much of North Texas off and on through next week, said Bryan Lambeth, senior meteorologist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

A wave of dust

Health concerns

State regulators project air quality in Dallas-Fort Worth to be moderate through the weekend, meaning the dust cloud could aggravate the conditions of those with respiratory problems such as asthma, but it should not pose much of a risk to an otherwise healthy person.

Still, Lambeth cautions the particles will contain allergens. “Those sensitive to allergens in dust may notice problems,” he said.

A closer look

Most people only notice the dust clouds when they shroud the sunset in a yellowish haze.

Weather impact

Rain could help dissipate the dust cloud. But Eric Martello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said, “We’re really not expecting anything in the way of rain in the short term.”

Online: To check current levels of particulate matter pollution, go to