Saharan Dust Cloud Arrives in Nebraska, Affects Air Quality

(Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service)
June 29, 2020 - 12:43pm

A large cloud of dust originating from the Sahara Desert reached the Omaha and Lincoln metro over the weekend.

The cloud reached the Gulf Coast late last week after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean.

Local health departments deemed the air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups on Sunday.

Van DeWald, a lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Valley, said the dust cloud is a rare event for Nebraska and wasn’t originally predicted to travel this far north.

"This has been in the news, and models kind of predicted this would move into the central United States, but we didn’t think it would make it into Nebraska and Iowa," DeWald said. "But, the models were a little bit wrong and it did move into the area [Sunday], and in fact, it’s moved as far north as South Dakota and Minnesota." 

DeWald said Monday's air quality has improved to moderate, and there will be continued improvement through tomorrow.

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