The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned a massive plume of dust whipping up from the Sahara desert and is heading towards the US Southwest this weekend. It has already shrouded swathes of the Carribean and turned blue skies into milky-brown haze. By Tuesday, the dust cloud moved into the eastern Caribbean and had smothered Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and eastern Cuba.
Forecasters have raised health concerns in states where the coronavirus crisis is worsening. Every year, at this time, strong warm wind whips up over the Sahara desert, carrying it thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. This year the dust is so dense in a half a century that it has sharply reduced visibility.
‘Godzilla’ is not the cloud’s official name. It has been nicknamed Godzilla because it’s potentially the largest such cloud in the last 50 years. It’s technically called the Saharan Air Layer because that’s where it originated.
The “Godzilla dust cloud,” is 3,500-mile-long and it has travelled 5,000 miles (8,047 km) from North Africa before reaching the region stretching from Florida west into Texas and north into North Carolina through Arkansas, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Patrick Blood, the meteorologist of NSW said, “It’s a really dry layer of air that contains these very fine dust particulates. It occurs every summer.”
“Some of these plumes contain more particles, and right now we expecting a very large plume of dust in the Gulf Coast.” According to sources, it will hangover the region until the middle of next week, deteriorating the air quality in Texas, Florida and other states where the number of COVID-19 cases has recently spiked.