UPDATED 7:41 AM PT – Thursday, October 7, 2021
A large sandstorm originating from North Africa is arriving in Cuba after traveling more than 4,000 miles over the Atlantic Ocean. On Wednesday, clouds of sand and dust shrouded the island nation, in turn, obstructing the sky and prompting worries of public health.
Saharan sandstorms reach Cuba and parts of the southern U.S. every year. This time, however, the dust is mixed up with sulfuric ashes from volcano eruption in the Canary Islands. This fact is adding to health concerns.
“The sky today has been a bit opaque due to the dust from the Sahara. In addition to the pandemic, we also have these dust clouds and we have to take extreme health measures. We are here getting some air at the Malecon, but we have to take extreme health measures because there are two things. It is no longer one, now it is also the dust that can get us sick.”
— Huber Nieves – resident of Havana, Cuba
Cuban authorities recommend residents to stay indoors to reduce exposure to volcanic particles. The Saharan storm has yet to reach the U.S.