Large wave of Saharan dust is heading right for Florida and the Gulf of Mexico

Models indicate that a large amount of Saharan dust will cross the Atlantic this week and head towards the Gulf of Mexico and Florida by next weekend.

What is the Saharan dust?

The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is a dry and dusty air mass full of sand, dirt, and other debris that is lifted by storms over Africa and brought across the Atlantic by tropical waves. The Saharan Air Layer is composed of a dry pocket of air that usually resides thousands of feet above sea level. This dry and hot air typically limits tropical development due to it robbing systems of the moisture needed to form.

The Saharan Air Layer is usually most active during June and July, which is why it is more difficult for tropical waves to develop in the Main Development Region of the Atlantic west of Africa. We can track the SAL using satellites and forecast its direction through long-range weather models.

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The forecast layer of Saharan air should inhibit tropical development through the end of June in the MDR and may even impact the Caribbean to some degree. If it were to reach Florida, expect colorful sunsets and sunrises along with hazier blue skies than normal.