Saharan dust arrives in South Florida

A large dry air mass that originated in the Sahara Desert, located in the northern region of Africa, has made its way all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and into South Florida.

The dust is impacting the area in several ways, one of which is creating a milky appearance to our skies.

The dust is very fine, and is traveling very high above the earth's surface, so our air quality is still in the "Good" category today, according to the EPA.

This dry dusty air also inhibits the development of cloud cover and therefore really limits our chances for rain… however some studies show that the dust can also contribute to very compact and powerful isolated thunderstorms under the right conditions.

Without much cloud cover, our temperatures will rise quickly over the next couple of days, and with some moisture still around (because this is South Florida) the heat index will reach temperatures above 100 degrees today and tomorrow.

Some studies show that this African dust can also serve as insulation, trapping heat beneath it, therefore not allowing temperatures to cool down very quickly even at night.

NASA also published a report a few years ago that suggests when a lot of dust moves across the ocean during the summer, it shields the ocean waters from receiving the normal amounts of sunshine.  The result of this shield is lower ocean temperatures which in turn may lower the number of Hurricanes that develop during Hurricane Season.  
Hurricanes need warm ocean water to maintain strength and development.  As of right now, there are no developing storms in the Atlantic.

It appears that more moisture will return to our area this weekend, but some computer models are leaning toward more of this Saharan dry dusty air reaching South Florida by Monday of next week.

 

YouReporter Mark contributed a photo for this story.

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