Fort Worth

Saharan dust and heat hover over Fort Worth. Here’s what you can do

Desert dust settles over North Texas again

For the second time this summer, sand from the Sahara blows across the Atlantic ocean and up through the Gulf of Mexico into Texas, causing poor air quality and respiratory issues for many folks. It may be here a while, too.
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For the second time this summer, sand from the Sahara blows across the Atlantic ocean and up through the Gulf of Mexico into Texas, causing poor air quality and respiratory issues for many folks. It may be here a while, too.

The heat and Saharan dust have found a home in Fort Worth. At least until next week.

Meteorologist Juan Hernandez with the National Weather Service said the dust will likely stay consistent through Tuesday, and we should see some relief from 100-degree temperatures by Thursday.

Fort Worth’s air quality index is expected to stay moderate, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Can we blame the haze for the heat?

Not really.

“They’re basically two separate entities,” Hernandez said. “The dust is here because we have a high pressure system over us, which means there’s not much movement going on in the upper parts of the atmosphere.”

But heat also is created when that movement stops, he said.

Fire departments across the region are warning people about staying outside unprepared for too long. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth released some tips on how to spot heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

For heat exhaustion look out for the following symptoms:

  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cool, pale or clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Muscle cramps

And for heat stroke, look out for:

  • A throbbing headache
  • No sweating
  • Body temperature above 103 degrees with red, hot and dry skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Possible loss of consciousness

MedStar said there were six heat-related injuries by 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Six people were taken to the hospital on Tuesday due to the heat. Two additional people were treated on the scene. On Monday, MedStar answered 10 heat-related calls. Two involved children who were locked in cars.

MedStar has responded to 30 percent more heat-related incidents and received nearly 50 percent more heat-related calls from May through July 18 this year than the same time period last year, it said in a news release Thursday.

Between July 1-14, there were eight percent fewer related heat calls than the same period in 2017, but calls have spiked since July 14 resulting in a 38 percent increase, MedStar said.

Some Fort Worth energy providers are already preparing for the additional energy usage.

4Change sent an email to customers on Wednesday morning asking them to conserve energy on Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. TXU Energy asked for customers to conserve their energy on Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m.

The last time Fort Worth had 10 straight days with triple-digit temperatures was in August 2016. The city’s longest streak of consecutive 100-degree days was 42 in 1980. The average number of 100-degree days each year is 18 in Fort Worth, but the city had 71 of those days in 2011.

There is some good news — North Texans might see some relief from hot weather next Wednesday or Thursday. It’s hard for forecasters to say how low the temperature might get a week out, but Hernandez said they’ll likely be average or just slightly above for this time of year — so probably in the 90s.

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