Saharan dust to worsen today

Wear your face masks and stay indoors as much as possible today because the Saharan dust cloud is expected to worsen. Director of the Meteorological Office of Jamaica, Evan Thompson, said the dust will peak today, however, it’s not something to be alarmed about.

“We’re expecting it to continue throughout this week. It should get worse tomorrow today and Wednesday and then it will start to dissipate,” he said.

The dust outbreak is commonly known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), and happens every year when millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean.

But Thompson could not explain why it was thicker this time around.

“It’s something that happens every year but it’s just that it’s not always this thick, and it doesn’t always get as far west,” Thompson told the Jamaica Observer.

“I don’t know what that reason is for it being thicker. It may just be that the conditions for this year might have been drier over the area of Africa’s coastline,” he continued.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health said people with respiratory illness may be affected, and is advising them to take the necessary precautions. They should stay indoors as much as possible, wear face masks, wear long-sleeved clothing and protect eyes. It is also important to wash hands regularly and avoid touching of eyes, ensure water that is harvested is treated, and cover water used for domestic purposes, including drinking and food preparation.