You might think this is a bit of a stretch, but I promise you it isn’t. In fact, it’s not rare for Saharan dust to make it into the southern U.S.
The wind close to the equator ordinarily flows from east to west. This can pick up a layer of dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa and move it along/north of the equator into parts of the Caribbean and eventually into the southeastern U.S.
This can be seen as beneficial for two reasons.
1. The dry air at the mid-levels of the atmosphere that comes along with this dusty layer can limit hurricane development. With that plume over the Gulf and Caribbean, that decreases our likelihood of a developing tropical system next week.
2. The dust is just another group of particles that can add color to a sunrise or sunset. When the sun is low on the horizon, its beams spread out and can reflect off these dust particles. This would then create wonderful hues of purple, red, orange or yellow. The better odds of that would be closer to the Gulf Coast, but could even stretch this far north too. You can always send your pictures through Pin It.
Forecast data indicates a plume of dust from the Sahara traveling toward the Caribbean and southern/southeastern U.S. next week. This could at least limit tropical development, but it could also make for very nice sunrises and sunsets. pic.twitter.com/846YKZGPMw— Chris Michaels (@WSLS_Michaels) June 18, 2020
One downside is that if dust concentration were high enough, which is unlikely to be the case for us, air quality would drop off.