ST. LOUIS — The Saharan dust plume descended upon St. Louis on Saturday, and it made for an amazing, purple sunset.
You can check out a sped up timelapse of our cameras over St. Louis as the sun went down amid the dust plume in the player above.
Photographer Brent Pearson was able to capture this incredible shot of the Gateway Arch from the Illinois side Saturday night.
The Saharan dust plume is a massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa that, thanks to trade winds, is carried over the Atlantic Ocean all the way to us in the United States.
The Sahara Desert spans across northern Africa. A mass of dusty air forms over this region every three to five days from late spring to early fall. It extends between 5,000 and 20,000 feet into the atmosphere.
Despite the unique sunsets, the dust in our forecast also comes with a health warning.
Doctor H. James Wedner is the Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
"There's dust and there's dust. Dust comes in all shapes and flavors and kinds," he said.
And the Saharan dust coming for the St. Louis area is very fine, invisible close up.
"It's very tiny particles and they're small enough to get into the lungs, and yes they can affect your breathing," Dr. Wedner explained.
People with asthma and lung disease may notice difficulty breathing. Others may have itchy eyes or a runny nose.