How Hurricane Beryl intensified to Category 4 as Saharan dust plume crosses Atlantic

Hurricane Beryl isn't alone as it continues to pummel the Caribbean this week. A plume of Saharan dust is making its way across the Atlantic Ocean on the heels of a previous one that skirted South Florida over the weekend. 

The dust is expected to blow over South Florida during the middle of the week, followed by Texas in the second half. The effects of this plume include colorful sunrises and sunsets, plus reduced rain chances. 

"The storm has pushed the dust out of the way," FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Noah Bergren said. "There's dust to the left, dust to the right, and then, clearly you could see, there's the hurricane."

Saharan dust can limit the development of tropical systems because it acts as a cap on the atmosphere, according to FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Jessica Dobson. It also makes the atmosphere slightly drier, which isn't conducive for tropical development. 

"Hurricane Beryl was able to undergo rapid intensification because the current plume of Saharan dust never quite caught up to the hurricane in time for it to dramatically impact the hurricane," Dobson adds. "The lack of dust has meant there was slightly more moisture, also making it easier for the storm to strengthen."

Beryl is expected to remain its hurricane status as it passes near Jamaica on Wednesday and the Cayman Islands on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

FOX Weather contributed to this report.