The milky skies in South Florida are from a plume of dust that has been fed and refed by the flow off the Sahara Desert in Africa. Lately, the dust has been thin enough that some thunderstorms have broken through it, but generally the dust is in control of the atmosphere in our part of the world.
There is a tropical disturbance between Africa and the Caribbean islands that the computer model forecasts say is strong enough to plow through the dust and create a moister patch in the flow of air coming across the ocean. On the current schedule, it will arrive here mid to late week.
The disturbance will come with a change in our weather pattern — finally. The dominant wind flow will come off the ocean, and when the disturbance comes by, it should be a good breeze. At least for a while, that should keep temperatures closer to normal.
Between the dust and the general atmospheric pattern, conditions do lot look conducive for systems to develop this week. So the tropics are expected stay quiet.
Interestingly, the tropics are quiet all over the world — north of the equator. Dr. Phil Klotzbach, the famous hurricane-season forecaster from Colorado State University, calculated that this is the first year since we have had a satellite view of the planet beginning in 1966, that there were no hurricanes anywhere during this part of the summer.
We know the weather patterns on the planet are different in our warmer world. But we don’t know whether this unusual dearth of strong tropical storms is an artifact of a changed climate or just a random occurrence — yet. If it is a fundamental change in the weather patterns, we also don’t know if that change might mean more storms will form in another part of the year.
It’s something scientists will be analyzing carefully for some time to come.