Saharan Desert dust blows over the Treasure Coast

STUART, Fla. - Doug King of Stuart was walking downtown with his wife, Joyce, eating ice cream to cool off on Thursday evening. He said they both wanted a cool treat, after a hot day.

"I played 18 holes, and now I'm eating ice cream," said King.

He said he noticed a layer of dust trapped heat on the golf course.

"The steam rose from the grass, so you feel like a steamed potato," he explained, between mouthfuls of cappuccino chocolate chip.

Kevin Petrovsky, Northwood University environmental sciences professor, said the Treasure Coast is indeed steaming like hot potatoes, because high heat created low pressure systems over the Sahara Desert. That kicked up sand, which blew over to our part of the globe through trade winds, and now heat is trapped under the layer of dust.

"It tends to stagnate our air, so the normal sea breeze that we would normally get, that would help bring moisture in from the ocean, doesn't really happen during these events," said Petrovsky.

King says he's never seen the sky like this in Florida, but he's seen dirty skies in New York City that don't measure up in quite the same way.

"I'm used to pollution and such, but that's down low," said King. "The Sahara sand is way up there!"

NewsChannel 5 meteorologists said, according to the EPA, the dust is high enough above the earth's surface to keep our air quality still in the "good" category.

If you're ready for a clear sky, they predict you might have to wait a little longer, because more Saharan dust could hit our area next week.

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