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Shocking footage from Torreón, Mexico showed a huge wall of dust encompassing the entire city, sparking claims of the “apocalypse”. The sand storm from the Saharan Desert has reached North America after travelling across the Atlantic last week. Incredible videos of the sand storm hitting Mexico went viral, as the dust blocked out the sun and sparked travel chaos over visibility concerns.
This comes as the huge plume of sand, one of the most significant Saharan dust storms in decades, moves from Mexico into the US mainland.
Weather experts and NASA have showed the dense plume of dust moving into the Gulf of Mexico and the South.
Local witnesses have said that the storm has already darkened the sky and raised health concerns in several US states.
The storm is expected to continue moving north and east through the weekend, reaching areas from Texas and Florida all the way up to as far north as the Canadian border.
JUST IN: Godzilla dust storm: Extreme Saharan cloud about to blanket US
Michael Lowry, a strategic planner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), issued a terrifiying warning about the sand storm.
He tweeted: “The ongoing Saharan dust outbreak across the tropical Atlantic is * by far * the most extreme of the MODIS satellite record — our most detailed, continuous record of global dust back to 2002.”
For those with respiratory conditions, the sand storm is believed to be dangerous and a risk for complications.
A recent Harvard study shows that long-term exposure to fine particles of pollution in the air, much like dust, may be linked to higher rates of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.
The technical name for the dust storm is the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) but some have nicknamed this year’s cloud the “Godzilla dust cloud” due to its unprecedented size.
Pablo Méndez Lázaro, an environmental health specialist with the University of Puerto Rico, echoed FEMA’s fears, saying the dust cloud “is the most significant event in the past 50 years.”
He added: “Conditions are dangerous in many Caribbean islands.”
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The sand storm is so dense and large that it can even be spotted from space, as NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station revealed.
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley tweeted last Sunday: “We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic.
“Amazing how large an area it covers!”
The SAL forms over the Sahara Desert and moves across the North Atlantic every three to five days from late spring to early fall, peaking in late June to mid-August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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