Sahara dust cloud looms over Cuba, Caribbean and Florida

Katie Ramirez
June 25, 2020

MASK wearing as well as taking other precautions is recommended for those with allergies and respiratory illness as a plume of Sahara dust is predicated to impact some parts of the Bahamas this week.

"Get those cameras ready cause the dust will make some fantastic sunsets/sunrises with #nofilter", the agency tweeted on Sunday.

"We flew over this Saharan dust plume today in the west central Atlantic". Send us your photos, you may see yours on air!

The dust is expected to reach Texas by Thursday morning and move east across the USA over the weekend. A picture taken from the International Space Station shows the band of dust covering hundreds of miles over the Atlantic Ocean. If the forecast model is right, it will move over most of the Southeast and MidAtlantic states over the weekend.

The traveling dust was also expected because, according to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, every three to five days from late spring through early fall, such a dust cloud, known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), forms over the Sahara Desert and starts moving westward across the Atlantic.

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Summer dust clouds are not uncommon, but this year's event is getting more attention because it appears to be the largest in decades.

NASA satellites measure the intensity of dust clouds with the Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) metric, which indicates the degree to which aerosols prevent the transmission of light through the atmosphere.

As long as the Saharan dust is's likely you'll see the National Hurricane Center watching fewer areas in the tropics.

If you find yourself reaching for a tissue this week - or your iPhone to post yet another awesome sunset pic to Instagram - thank the Saharan dust.

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