Sahara Desert dust could make our sunsets red

Jeff Smith Image
Friday, June 26, 2020
Why the Tri-State area could see red sunsets this weekend
This weather phenomenon is particularly extreme this year.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A cloud of Saharan dust that rivals anything seen in the past fifty years has been racing across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa.

The islands of the Caribbean were the first to experience the hazy skies and poor air quality.

Up next is the Gulf Coast of the United States.

The dust is from sand particles picked up by strong winds over the Sahara Desert and launched high into the atmosphere.

Although Saharan dust is common this time of year over the tropical Atlantic, this event is particularly extreme.

Computer simulations move the cloud into the Gulf Coast, especially Texas and Louisiana, then spread it across much of the southeast into the weekend.

Effects include hazy skies, reduced visibility, air quality issues, and reddish sunrises and sunsets.

The most concentrated portion of the dust should stay south of the Tri-State region, but we may at least get those nice sunsets out of it.

Another positive is that dry Saharan air limits tropical development, so the already active 2020 hurricane season will press the pause button for a little while.

We'll see how long the dust plume lasts, but they tend to diminish as we head deeper into the summer.


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