The territory is under an air pollution alert for ongoing high levels of wind-blown dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa, according to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The dust causes the skies around the U.S. Virgin Islands to be hazy, which reduces visibility and results in poor air quality. As a result of the dust storms and a rise in warm air, the sand rises above the desert and these sandy dust particles are transported from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.
Odayls Martinez, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has confirmed that dust haze will remain over the territory approximately through Friday and will begin to subside due to the approaching tropical wave but will be still visible thereafter, according to DPNR.
While this haze may not be an immediate threat, those with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors, when possible, and consult their physicians or health care professionals for further guidance, DPNR suggests.
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 773-1082 or go to www.nasa.gov or http://weather.noaa.gov/weather/current/TIST.html.