Dense Saharan dust plume to reach Florida this week, impacting hurricane season


  • Photo courtesy NOAA
A giant plume of Saharan dust has been slowly drifting across the Atlantic, and will this week finish its 5,000-mile journey to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast – and its effects will soon be felt in Florida.

These massive clouds of Saharan dust, or Saharan air layers (SAL), are an annual summer occurrence, but this particular cloud is the densest in 50 years. So dense in fact, that even astronauts on the International Space Station could see it, clear as day, over the weekend.
Hazy skies, dry conditions and discomfort for those with asthma or bad allergies are likely in store to varying degrees for residents of South Florida, Texas and the Gulf Coast later this week and into the weekend.

On Sunday, Caribbean islands including St. Barts, Puerto Rico, and Trindad and Tabago have seen thick haze and skies overcast with dust.

Miami television station Local 10 predicts that Miami skies to become more milky later today and into tomorrow as the cloud moves closer.

In an intriguing Godzilla vs. Kong style development, this massive cloud of dust, along with its dry air and vertical wind shear, will basically stop any tropical development, thus putting hurricane season "on pause" for the week and into the weekend, according to CNN.

Given predictions for a busy 2020 hurricane season, we'll take what we can get.

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