The Georgia Department of Public Health said Saturday that the dust cloud is expected to remain for the next few days and that people, especially those with chronic lung conditions, should protect themselves.
It is normal for dust from the Sahara to reach the US every hurricane season, but this year’s cloud is historic, forecasters said. Georgia health officials say the dust is the densest in 50-60 years.
Dust-related air quality alerts are published in parts of the Ohio River Valley, the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast, CNN forecasters said Sunday.
The powder can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, and people with allergies or asthma may experience wheezing.
Georgia health officials urged residents to limit the time they spend outdoors if it appears dusty or foggy. When inside, residents should keep windows and doors closed and operate their air conditioner with the fresh air intake closed.
Another round of Saharan dust is expected to impact areas of Texas and the Louisiana gulf coast in the middle of the week, CNN forecasters said, but it won’t be as dense as the plume currently hitting the southeast.