Another round of Saharan Dust is moving into South Florida as we speak, but its journey starts thousands of miles away in the Sahara Desert.
Since the desert is hot and hot air rises, dust, sand and debris from the ground lifts into the sky and is then transported across the Atlantic Ocean by the Northeast Trade Winds.
We usually see a few rounds of dust each year, but mainly during the first half of hurricane season.
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How does Saharan dust affect the weather?
Saharan dust has many benefits, especially for weather.
For one, it keeps the tropics nice and quiet because it limits storm production. And here in South Florida, it does the same leading to very low rain chances.
What does Saharan dust look like?
Saharan dust can make the sky appear anywhere from hazy to milky to sometimes red, but it makes a bright blue sky almost impossible. It can also lead to vivid sunsets and can even provide nutrients for animals and plants in the ocean.
A previous plume of Saharan dust moved into South Florida earlier this year between late-May and early-June
The picture below shows the sky over Hollywood beach before the dust rolled in and one day after.
How does Saharan dust affect people?
The biggest drawback is that it can lead to poor air quality. Healthy folks in South Florida usually do okay, maybe only smelling the dust in the air. But people with respiratory issues, especially in the Caribbean need to stay indoors when the dust gets thick.