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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Saharan dust may bring colorful weekend sunsets in Louisiana

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For the past several years, Saharan dust has successfully made the trek across the Atlantic and appeared here in the Southern U.S.. This year is no exception.

The smallest dust particles from the Saharan desert get swept up into a westerly atmospheric flow and this year, it will be flowing right into the Gulf of Mexico.

What does this mean?

As dust particulates begin to move into our area next week, we could see a decrease in air quality. However, all the rain in the forecast will help filter out large amounts of dust pollution. See the full 7-day forecast here. (Stay with us this week for timely updates on air quality!) Any dust left over will then mostly be seen at sunrise and sunset.

We can expect to see orange and yellow skies. During sunrise and sunset, the sun’s rays travel a long distance through the Earth’s atmosphere. On a normal day, the properties of the atmosphere already allow for colors like red and orange to appear. Cool colors like violets and blues are scattered very efficiently by air particles. Meaning, we don’t see them as much during sunrise and sunset. Warm colors like reds and oranges are not scattered away. Add in some desert dust and we have a perfect recipe for orange skies.

Timeline

The dust will start to enter the Gulf of Mexico on Friday reaching the Louisiana coast late Friday evening. It will continue to file in all weekend, expect to see the highest concentrations on Saturday evening.

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