CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is informing the public of an air pollution alert for dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa.
The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, which reduces the visibility and results in poor air quality. This results in dust storms and a rise in warm air.
These sandy dust particles are transported from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico have confirmed that the bulk of the current dust episodes are decreasing and will continue to clear through tomorrow, and that the territory should see the tail end of the storm by Wednesday.
There will be another dust episode of similar intensity passing through the territory during the weekend.
While this haze may not be an immediate threat, persons with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or healthcare professional for further guidance.
Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and throughout the summer months.
For more information contact the Division of Environmental Protection at 340-773-1082 or go to
www.nasa.gov or http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/TIST.html.