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Sahara dust plume forecast to hit Cancun, Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Dust of the Sahara is expected to hit the Riviera Maya, Cancun region in the next day or so. The sand, which has been tracked over the Atlantic for several days, is likely to hit the Yucatan Peninsula by Wednesday.

Local meteorologist Antonio Morales Ocaña says that the desert sand reaching the region would not be such a bad thing. Although it has potential to affect allergy suffers and even cause respiratory issues in some, it would have a positive affect on the environment. He says that such desert sand is known to prevent natural catastrophes such as the development of tropical cyclones.

“It is crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching the Yucatan Peninsula, to a lesser extent the Gulf of Mexico,” he said adding that tons of dust from the Sahara typically arrive in the Caribbean region every year, which is loaded with elements such as iron, calcium, phosphorous, silicon and mercury, acting as a natural fertilizer for local flora and creating chemical reactions with the properties of water, preventing large-scale natural catastrophes.

The massive plume of Saharan Air Layer has traveled more than 5,000 miles from Africa and is likely to cross the Yucatan Wednesday before reaching the US later this week. According to Dr. Olga Mayol of the Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, this particular event is unique since it is the thickest plume to cross over the Caribbean Sea in decades.

The local forecast for the Cancun, Riviera Maya region today is warning of the possibility of areas of yellow dust and haze as the Saharan Air Layer moves into the region.