A HUGE “Saharan dust cloud” is hitting parts of Florida this weekend.

The plume is expected to dampen storm activity but worsen air pollution.

This will cause trouble for some people with allergies and other respiratory problems.

Some health experts even say that symptoms could mimic those from Covid-19.

NASA is monitoring the dust cloud, which was swept off Africa by strong winds swirling across the deserts of Mali and Mauritania.

“It’s a scorcher out there,” NBC Miami meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin tweeted on Friday.

“The Saharan Dust that keeps the sky overcast and knocks out or rain chances also pops the humidity and makes it feel like about 100° across South Florida.”

According to NOAA, “Sunsets and sunrises take on more yellow and reddish hues because the low-angle sunlight passes through more of the atmosphere before it reaches your eyes.”

“A heavy load of dust in the atmosphere can enhance this effect, leading to longer-lasting, duskier colors that cause vivid sunsets and sunrises,” the outlet added.

Please read our Saharan dust storm live blog for more updates and the latest news

  • SERIES OF DUST CLOUDS TO HIT FLORIDA

    The Saharan dust concentrations were forecast to be moderate over Florida and moderate to heavy over Cuba and the Bahamas.

    The first dust cloud – hitting this weekend – was forecast to expand further up into Florida and parts of the southern United States.

    The high pressure over the southern US will act as a barrier for the dust cloud, keeping it confined to the southernmost states only, says Severe Weather Europe.

    The concentrations could be moderate to heavy for southern Florida, and low to moderate for other states.

  • SAHARAN AIR LAYER FORECAST

    The persistent high-pressure system in the central Atlantic is the main steering mechanism for the Saharan dust plume hitting Florida.

    The easterly trade winds carry the dust clouds from Africa towards the west, says Severe Weather Europe.

    The Saharan air layer is usually drier than normal tropical air.

    The initial dust cloud has now reached southern Florida.

  • DUST COOLS THE ATMOSPHERE

    Research shows, that iron-rich particles inside these dust storms reflect sunlight, thus cooling the atmosphere, explains Severe Weather Europe.

    These fine particles also reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean, which reduces the heating of the ocean surface, while the dust cloud is passing over.

    People in Florida well may notice a dusty haze above them.

    It limits visibility and affects the air quality.

  • MORE ON THE SAHARAN DUST CLOUD

    Such large dust clouds are more commonly known as SAL (Saharan Air Layer).

    This is a mass of very dry, dusty air that forms over the Sahara Desert during late spring, summer, and early autumn.

    It moves over the tropical North Atlantic every three to five days, with some events reaching very high volumes of dust, adds Severe Weather Europe.

  • WHERE DID THE DUST STORM COME FROM?

    The large Saharan dust cloud moved across the Atlantic Ocean.

    After reaching the Caribbean, where it remained for a few days, it headed for the southeastern United States.

    Strong thunderstorms and convective systems over Africa, sometimes create massive dust storms.

    If the pressure patterns and winds are favorable, these massive dust storms can reach the Atlantic Ocean and also far west towards the Caribbean and the United States, explains Severe Weather Europe.

  • FLORIDA BATHED IN VIVID SUNRISES AND SUNSETS

    Saharan dust clouds suppress tropical activity, which means lesser risk for tropical storm development and landfall during its presence.

    Dust particles in the atmosphere also help to create beautiful, vivid sunrises and sunsets, as the dust particles scatter the sunlight, reports Severe Weather Europe.

    Residents have been tweeting their impressive pics of the fantastic skies:

  • DUST BRINGS SPECTACULAR SUNRISES IN FLORIDA!

    The spectacular sunrises have begun in Florida as predicted, after Saharan dust started hitting the area.

    Amy Kaufeldt, anchor of Good Day Orlando FOX 35, tweeted: “Wowza! Thank you #SaharanDust cloud.”

  • DUST PLUME TO HIT FLORIDA

    There is a “lot of Saharan dust at the moment,” tweeted the World Meteorological Organization.

    It’s the U.N.’s voice on weather, climate and water.

    The tweet continued: “A dust plume is about to reach Florida, and another on its way to Scandinavia, according to Copernicus,” which monitors the atmosphere.

  • GODZILLA DUST PLUME

    In June 2020, a “Godzilla” dust plume travelled from the Sahara, the planet’s largest, hottest desert, across the Atlantic ocean to North America.

    This eye-catching plume made headlines.

    NASA scientists, using a combination of satellite data and computer models, predict that Africa’s annual dust plumes will actually shrink to a 20,000-year minimum over the next century as a result of climate change and ocean warming.

  • NUTRIENT-RICH DUST FROM SAHARA DESERT

    The Sahara Desert is 3,600,000 sq m (9,200,000 sq km) of arid land stretched across the northern half of Africa.

    It is just slightly smaller in size than the continental United States.

    Upwards of 60million tons of its nutrient-laden mineral dust are lifted into the atmosphere each year.

    This creates a massive layer of hot, dusty air that winds carry across the Atlantic to deliver those nutrients to the ocean and vegetation in South America and the Caribbean.

  • NASA – FEWER DUST STORMS BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING

    Back in April, NASA had reported on a study predicting fewer Saharan dust storms being carried in future winds.

    The agency said that “with projected global warming” researchers worked out that there will be “at least a 30 per cent reduction in Saharan dust activity from current levels over the next 20 to 50 years, and a continued decline beyond that.”

  • IMPACT ON HEALTH UNKNOWN

    Scientists and health experts have long monitored these sort of dust plumes.

    They check for their effect on weather, the climate and the oceans.

    But it’s unclear how severely the incoming plume of dust will affect human health.

  • STORM SYSTEMS DAMPENED BY SAHARAN DUST

    Dry winds carrying the particles could help smother storm systems.

    They do so by drying out the humid tropical air that feeds turbulent weather across a well-traveled route for hurricanes, experts said.

    “It’s been moving across the Atlantic for the past several days, and its expected to be in the area around Friday or Saturday,” said Sammy Hadi, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami.

  • DUST TO CAUSE COVID-LIKE SYPMTOMS

    Sunsets across Florida are going to become even more spectacular, as clouds of dust from the Sahara desert sweep in across the Atlantic coast.

    The plume is expected to dampen storm activity but worsen air pollution.

    This will cause trouble for some people with allergies and other respiratory problems.

    Some health experts even say that symptoms could mimic those from Covid-19.

    Credit: Instagram/Danielle Cicchese
  • MAJOR DUST EPISODE IN FLORIDA – EXPERT

    NASA is monitoring the dust, which was swept off Africa by strong winds swirling across the deserts of Mali and Mauritania.

    Trade winds are carrying the plume across the ocean, with the leading edge hitting in Florida.

    “It’s going to be a major dust outbreak,” Joseph Prospero, professor emeritus at the University of Miamis Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

    Prospero pioneered research into African dust clouds.

    Credit: NOAA
  • LAST SUMMER’S ‘GODZILLA’ DUST CLOUDS COULD BE SEEN FROM SPACE

    Last summer, winds carried 24 tons of dust from the Sahara Desert across the Atlantic to North and South America.

    The 2020 dust storm was so massive that it was nicknamed Godzilla and astronauts at the International Space Station could see it.

  • DUST COULD HELP SMOTHER STORM SYSTEMS

    Dry winds carrying Sahara dust into the US could help smother storm systems in the area by drying out tropical air.

    Humid air feeds turbulent weather across well-traveled hurricane routes, experts said.

    “It acts to prevent widespread showers and thunderstorms. You could still have showers and thunderstorms, but the coverage would be much less if you didn’t have Saharan dust,” Sammy Hadi, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Miami, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

  • SAHARA DUST LEADS TO ENCHANTING SUNRISES

    While there is some worry about how air quality will be affected by the dust clouds in Florida, the event sure has led to some gorgeous sunrise and sunset photos.

    Floridians have taken to social media their Sahara dust pics. Below, is a snap of the sunrise in Ormond Beach, just north of Daytona.

  • DUST AND DANDER LEVELS LISTED AS ‘EXTREME’ IN MIAMI AREA

    The dust clouds that are rolling into the US from across the Atlantic this week can lead to air quality issues.

    Currently, AccuWeather lists the air quality as “fair” in the Miami area.

    However, the “dust and dander” levels are listed as “extreme” currently and throughout the rest of the month of June.

    “Indoor dust and dander levels will be extremely high. Actions to control indoor dust and dander are very strongly recommended,” a warning states.

  • NASA MONITORING DUST CLOUDS

    NASA is monitoring the dust, which was swept off of the African deserts of Mali and Mauritania by strong winds.

    The winds carried the dust clouds across the Atlantic Ocean and over to the southern US.

    Video taken in Jackson, Tennessee, shows air that appears to be thick with haze.

  • FLORIDA RESIDENTS DOCUMENT ‘DUST CLOUD’ SUNSETS

    Sunsets and sunrises in Florida have become quite picturesque as dust from the Sahara Desert, blown across the ocean, descends upon the area.

    Residents have taken to social media to document some of the bright and beautiful sunsets.

  • HOW MUCH DUST DOES THE SAHARA CREATE?

    About 60million tons of the Sahara Desert’s dust floats into the atmosphere annually, according to NASA.

    Some of that hot, dusty air makes its way across the Atlantic Ocean and blocks or reflects sunlight, changing the appearances of sunrises and sets.

    When the air gets heavy near the ground, it can lead to poor air quality.

  • AIR POLLUTION MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH DUST STORM

    Air pollution may be a problem as dust clouds from the Sahara desert sweep along Florida’s coast.

    While the cloud may dampen storm activity in the area, the dust is also expected to lead to poor air quality.

    This could lead to some issues for people with allergies and other respiratory issues.

    Some health experts have warned that symptoms could mimic those of Covid-19.

  • HOW FAR CAN SAHARAN DUST REACH?

    The dust kicked up from the Sahara Desert can travel far into North and Central America during peak season.

    From late June to mid-August, depending on other weather conditions, the dust activity may reach Florida, parts of Central America, and even Texas.

    The dust activity from the Sahara could sweep all the way into Texas
    The dust activity from the Sahara could sweep all the way into TexasCredit: Getty
  • HOW DO DUST CLOUDS FORM?

    Seasonal dust clouds, known as the Saharan Air Layer, typically occur from June to around mid-August.

    The clouds form when dusty air from the desert gathers into a mass and travels over the Atlantic Ocean.

    This creates a thick layer of dust in the atmosphere that can enhance the yellow and red hues in sunrises and sunsets, but can also lead to air quality issues.