As Covid-19 coronavirus cases continue to increase in Florida, Texas and other southern states, what would be great to have right now? How about a “Godzilla” dust cloud?
Yes, 2020 brings a massive cloud of dust to the southeastern United States. It’s not just the type of dust cloud that swells when you run your hand under your bed or open your copy of the book The secret. It is an unusually large cloud, dubbed Godzilla, as it is potentially the largest of these clouds in 50 years.
What is unusually large? How about 3500 miles or 5600 km long? It’s longer than a trip from Miami to Seattle, which is about 3,300 miles and lots of vacuum bags placed end to end. Consider that the next time you say something is abnormally large.
Godzilla is not the official name of the cloud. It is technically called the Saharan air layer because it is a layer of air that moves with things from the Saharan desert. The winds whipped the particles of the North African desert, depositing them in the clouds, so to speak. This dust in the wind is a relatively regular phenomenon (often annual). However, as previously stated, this time it’s very big. This tweet from the International Space Station can give you a better idea of the size:
The cloud has now traveled approximately 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, already reaching the Caribbean and Mexico ABC 7 report showed:
As you can see, Godzilla is expected to reach the United States by this weekend.
Expect this giant cloud to “right-hook” over an area stretching from Florida to Texas and north to North Carolina until the middle of next week, borrowing a description from CBS News meteorologist Jeff Berardelli:
If you are in this area and you still do not wear a face covering to protect others from Covid-19 coronavirus, maybe a cloud of humungo dust will change your mind?
Obviously, if given the choice to breathe the dust rather than not to breathe the dust, most people would choose the dust. Inhaling such particles could end up irritating the nose, throat and respiratory tract. In fact, these small particles could easily reach the lungs, causing coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. If you already have breathing problems like asthma or emphysema, it could make matters worse. For example, people with asthma may be more likely to have asthma attacks. What about those who already have Covid-19 respiratory disease? Well, it may not be a good combo.
Also, it might be a bit difficult to tell what’s going on if you develop respiratory symptoms next week. Could another shortness of breath be caused by a new infection with the Covid-19 coronavirus or by the breathing of the massive cloud of dust hovering above you? As you can imagine, things could get confused.
This stuff could also get into your eyes. so try to protect your eyes. After all, dust and eyeballs are not a good combination. Excessive tearing could be a sign that you are exposed to dust or watching the film Notebook.
So if you are in a place that is going to have dust, this may be another reason to stay at home as much as possible. It may not be the best week to start Parkour for the first time. Keep your windows and doors closed to prevent particles from entering. Otherwise, it would be like wearing underwear with giant holes in it, which somehow defeats the goal of staying at home. Using an air filter equipped with high efficiency air filters (HEPA) and electrostatic precipitators (ESP) could help filter particles if you have such a machine.
When you go out, be careful not to bring dust with you. Covered with particulate matter is not good Peanuts the Pigpen character showed up. In addition, it could eventually get into your eyes or your respiratory system. So remember to take your clothes off and take a shower as soon as you get back inside. It is generally a good idea to do this in this order.
Although “good news” and “dust cloud” are two sets of words that you rarely see together, the news is not all bad. As Jane Beitler described on the NASA Earth Data website, such a dust storm could actually suppress hurricanes. The dust storm contains super dry air, which is not good for hurricane formation. It also brings a medium level eastward jet of air that can rip a developing storm. The dust itself can prevent the formation of clouds, acting like a large blank that prevents moisture from rising to higher levels of the atmosphere.
Dust in the sky can also scatter light. This could lead to colorful sunrises and sunsets. So, you might see very big orange things in the next few days.
You may not have a Godzilla dust cloud on your Bingo 2020 card. But there we are. The huge moving cloud of dust could affect air quality in the same way that air pollution does, but it does not cause disaster. No need to start singing “Imhotep, Imhotep”, like they did in the movie The Mummy. So take a deep breath. While inhaling, make sure you do what you can to avoid breathing this dust.