Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Cloud of Saharan dust blows toward Caribbean, blocks tropical storms

+ Dust and dry air from the Saharan desert is rolling off the coast of West Africa and into the Atlantic Ocean. + The dry air inhibits the formation of hurricanes in the east Atlantic, particularly storms that traditionally form near the Cape Verde islands. + The huge dust ball, bigger than the United States, could affect hurricane formation near the Cape Verde islands through mid-August.

A large cloud of mineral dust from the Sahara Desert is blowing across the Atlantic Ocean and blocking the development of tropical storms as it goes.

The dust ball is about the size of the continental United States, and forecasters said it creates dry, sinking air, along with colder sea surface temperatures that inhibit the formation tropical weather like hurricanes.

Dust clouds often blow off Africa during hurricane season, but the latest mass is especially large. It is expected to pass over Puerto Rico on Friday, and meteorologists said it may eventually even reach southern Florida.

If that happened, it would cause hazy weather and red sunrises and sunsets, said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay. Click here to read the full story.

Below is a view of the dust cloud as it blows off the coast of Africa.

dust cloud

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