PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The first large plume of Saharan dust made the journey of over 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to South Florida, turning the sky a gray and dull.
The cloud is made up of fine particles and sand from the deserts of Africa. Strong winds blow it high up into the atmosphere, where it is carried far west.
Air quality has been reduced over the weekend with the extra particles in the air.
The Air Quality Index is reading moderate in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, which is still acceptable for most. Those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution could experience issues, especially those with asthma or COPD.
Rain chances have also been reduced with the middle part of the atmosphere drying out from the dust plume. This is needed after six inches of rain fell in parts of Broward County on Friday.
There are some positives to a Saharan dust outbreak. While over the tropics, this drier air can weaken tropical systems or in some cases prevent them from developing.
The dust has also been known to provide beautiful, orange sunsets. This is only the case if the dust is not too thick.
While it is not uncommon to see it this time of the year in Florida, it comes in waves. This one will last through Tuesday. Expect more to move in at times through the summer.