The Georgia Department of Health said the dust cloud is expected to hang around on Saturday for the next few days, and people, especially people with chronic lung disease, should protect themselves.
It is normal for Saharan dust to reach the US every hurricane season, but this year’s cloud is historic, forecasters said. According to health authorities in Georgia, the dust is the densest in 50-60 years.
Air quality warnings related to dust are being released in parts of the Ohio River Valley, the Middle Atlantic and the Southeast, CNN meteorologists said on Sunday.
The dust can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, and wheezing in allergy sufferers or asthma.
Health officials in Georgia asked residents to limit their time outdoors if it appeared dusty or hazy. Indoors, residents should keep windows and doors closed and operate their air conditioning with the fresh air inlet closed.
Another round of Saharan dust is expected to hit areas in Texas and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana mid-week, CNN meteorologists said, but it won’t be as dense as the cloud currently affecting the southeast.