Saharan Dust from Africa forecast to arrive in Mississippi

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Hurricane season is expected to take a pause over the next week as a large plume of dust from the Saharan Desert in Africa moves across the Atlantic Ocean. Waves of dust off the African continent are common during the summer, as the trade winds blow west from the desert into the Atlantic. However, this wave is very large and very strong. It is expected to travel westward into the Caribbean by this weekend. Then next week part of the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi, may see this plume of dust arrive.

This is a satellite photo from space showing the large plume of dust blowing off the western African coast and over the Atlantic Ocean.

How will the Saharan Dust impact us? As the thick plume of dust arrives in the Gulf Coast states by the last full week of June, it may be strong enough to lower air quality and cause allergy problems for some. The dust also creates a haze in the sky, which can lead to vibrant sunrises and sunsets.

The Saharan Air Layer that is created by the dust also prevents tropical storms from forming. The dust is associated with dry air, which chokes off thunderstorm development. The layer of dust also has greatly changing wind speed and direction called “wind shear.” That further breaks up any storms attempting to organize. So we can expect a quiet tropical Atlantic Ocean for the next week.

The Saharan Dust is expected to arrive along the Gulf Coast during the last full week of June.

So keep an eye out next week, most likely Tuesday through Friday, for more colorful sunrises and sunsets and potential allergy issues. Storm Team 12 will continue to track this wave of dust and other storms in the tropics, so stay with us for the latest forecast.

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