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African dust covers Texas

African dust descends upon city of Houston

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    Digital writers

    Thursday, August 8, 2013, 9:10 AM -

    In addition to suffering through sweltering temperatures, Houston, Texas is dealing with reduced visibility and poor air quality caused by African dust. 

    That's right, African dust in Texas. 

    The dust originates all the way from the Sahara. Storms and strong winds in northern Africa pull large amounts of dust into the upper atmosphere where air currents carry it across the ocean into the Gulf of Mexico, and now into Texas. 

    It's creating breathing problems for asthma and allergy sufferers and is expected to hang around for the next several days. 

    The African dust has also played a role in the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.

    "Many tropical systems begin as “waves” or areas of thunderstorms off the coast of Africa that then traverse the Atlantic Ocean toward North America," says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "What we are seeing happen currently is that very dry air (dust and sand) is being forced off the coast of Africa into the Atlantic Ocean. This type of dry air inhibits the formation of tropical waves which leads to the reason why we have no suspect areas in the region."

    Dust continued to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in late July 2013 (NASA)

    Dust continued to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in late July 2013 (NASA)

    With files from CNN

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