Saharan Dust means quiet tropics, beautiful sunsets next week

Weather

A young couple watch the sun disappear behind the Bugio lighthouse at the Tagus river mouth in Lisbon Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

This dust plume is expected to slowly travel westward across the Atlantic, Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico by next week.

NEW ORLEANS (WWL-TV) — It’s that time of year again. Saharan dust is starting to make it way from the coast of Africa into the Atlantic Ocean. This dust plume is expected to slowly travel westward across the Atlantic, Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico by next week.

We could see some of this dust in the New Orleans area sky starting next Tuesday, June 22nd. This happens every year early in the hurricane season. An area of high pressure will sit over Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. This will cause the trade winds to push the dust across the Atlantic Ocean and into parts of the U.S. from Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

There is some good news about the dust, it typically prevents tropical systems from forming! A tropical system is like an engine, and if it ingests dry air and dust it won’t run. The same goes for a tropical wave trying to form. It needs a lot of moisture, but if that isn’t present then the wave will dissipate.

It also can make for some gorgeous sunsets! This is due to the particles of dust in the sky. The light refracts more at sunset and this will give off a deep red or orange color to the sky. Get your cameras ready next week! 

As long as our weather stays dry, we are able to see it high up in the atmosphere. If we have rain, the precipitation will cleanse the air and the dust will be washed away. 

Be on the lookout for some beautiful sunsets and quiet tropics next week!

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