Saharan Dust Plume to Affect U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico This Week

Moderate to severe dust event expected to bring hazy skies and health risks from this afternoon through Wednesday, according to National Weather Service

  • Staff Consortium
  • July 08, 2024

Starting this afternoon, a plume of Saharan Dust will begin to affect the local region, with direct impacts expected in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This event, classified as Moderate to Severe, is anticipated to last through at least Wednesday afternoon. Residents in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands should prepare for hazy skies and reduced visibility as the Saharan Dust plume moves into the area.

Dust particles from the Saharan Dust event can exacerbate existing health conditions, particularly in immunocompromised, vulnerable, and sensitive groups. The Department of Health has observed an increase in respiratory conditions during such events. Common symptoms associated with exposure to Saharan Dust include:

  • Nose irritation
  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies
  • Asthma exacerbation
  • Throat irritation
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Risk of respiratory infection

To mitigate these health impacts, residents are advised to have medications available, stay hydrated, wear light clothing, avoid outdoor activities, and use face masks and eyeglasses.

The V.I. Dept. of Health has provided guidance and resources to help residents manage the effects of the Saharan Dust. DOH emphasizes the importance of taking preventive measures and seeking medical advice if experiencing severe symptoms.

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