Saharan Dust Cloud Heading for Southeastern US, annual meteorolgical event

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Photo: Talk about dust in the wind! This plume blowing west over the Atlantic from the Sahara desert was captured on June 7, 2020 by the NOAA-20 satellite.
Photo: Talk about dust in the wind! This plume blowing west over the Atlantic from the Sahara desert was captured on June 7, 2020 by the NOAA-20 satellite.

Planet Earth is without a doubt one of the most fascinating places in the entire universe, each day, new wonders await to be realized.

This coming month, residents in the United States’ Southeast, primarily along the Gulf Coast, will be eyewitnesses to yet another marvel: Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa, more than 5,000 miles away, falling in North America.

Though the entire tale may sound extremely sensational, it is actually quite routine of an occurrence which typically occurs sporadically from late-spring to early-fall.

The mass of very dry, dusty air that forms over the Sahara Desert during this time, collects tons of tiny particles of desert dust and carries it over the Atlantic and has been known to deposit the particles anywhere from Appalachia to the Amazon — and is capable of lifting as much as 200 million tons of dust.

According to NOAA, the seasonal events are actually a very good thing in maintaining the balance of weather, as the Saharan Air Layer’s dry, dusty air has about 50% less moisture than the typical tropical atmosphere. This extremely dry air can weaken a tropical cyclone or tropical disturbance by promoting downdrafts around the storm.

By the time the dusty air reaches the United States, it is nearly impossible to observe the air; however, its affects can easily be felt. Individuals who suffer from allergies who find themselves in the pathway of the African dust may experience flareups or red eyes.  The tradeoff, however, are brilliant red sunrises and sunsets, as well as reduced likelihood for rainy days.

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