Monday, July 15, 2024

Haze blankets Belize as Saharan Dust arrives


The sky over Ambergris Caye and most of Belize has been hazy and dusty due to the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) coming in from the Sahara Desert in Africa. The dust plume which covers the Caribbean region is considered a carrier of fungi, bacteria, and other contaminants. As such, the National Meteorological Service issued an advisory on Tuesday, June 23rd, indicating that persons with respiratory or heart diseases, the elderly, or young children should take precautions and wear protective gear and avoid outdoor activities.

Health authorities on Ambergris Caye ask islanders to continue wearing their masks when outdoors to avoid breathing particles within the dust. They urge everyone to stay hydrated as temperatures may rise due to the opaque sky conditions.

The SAL effect is an annual phenomenon, and forecast models show vast clouds of dust rising from the Saharan Desert. It is carried by the winds blowing west across the Caribbean basin and reaching as far as the southeast part of the United States of America.

According to the National Meteorological Service, the SAL will continue producing hazy and dusty conditions over Belize throughout the next week. A temporary break is expected at the start of the weekend.

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