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Will the Saharan dust plume head for Canada after it's done with the U.S.?
TORONTO -- The plume causing the worst dust storm in decades in some Caribbean countries is making its way toward the U.S., but isn't expected to head as far north as Canada.
Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa crossed the Atlantic Ocean and moved into the Caribbean over the weekend.
The sky was darkened there to an extent some weather researchers say they've never seen before.
Now the plume is on its way to the U.S., with forecasts calling for parts of Texas to wake up to a hazy sky on Thursday, with the thicker layer of dust arriving on Friday.
The latest forecast from the U.S. National Weather Service shows the plume then spinning eastward, spending several days over states including Alabama and Georgia, then weakening and moving back out to the Atlantic Ocean by the middle of the week.
At no point does the projection suggest that a significant amount of dust will enter Canada.
Although it is not unheard of for Saharan dust to cross the Atlantic – it's a regular natural phenomenon, and a visible plume reaches the Americas every few years or so – the intensity of the current dust cloud is unusually high.
It's even visible from the International Space Station.
In addition to creating a hazy effect in the sky, the dust particles scatter the sun's rays at dawn and dusk, creating what have been described as beautiful effects on sunrises and sunsets.
The particles can also make their way to ground level, potentially affecting those with dust allergies.