Attention all photographers!

The Godzilla Of Dust Storms Is Coming

Grab your gear this weekend and look west at sunset for some spectacular views. We will have a foreign visitor from the Sahara in our neighborhood bringing us some potential killer sunsets going into the weekend.

wildfire sunset picture
Wildfires create amazing sunsets from the smoke in the atmosphere

The Saharan Dust Layer or SAL is a very common phenomenon that occurs every year off the coast of Africa. Although typical, this one is in a league of its own. This dust plume is crushing records in size. Based on satellite data, this plume of dust stretches over 4,000 miles long! This SAL first started by clusters of thunderstorms or tropical waves over and then gets carried away by winds just north of the equator. Right now the most significant dust plume is over the Caribbean and another one closer to the Lesser Antilles.

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sahara dust storm, delmarva, sunsets, SAL,
photo from Ada Monzon in Villalba sows how thick the dust is there.

To show how significant this dust plume is, we got to ask our friends over in the U.S. Virgin Islands where visibility significantly drops to below 3 miles and even 5 miles in San Juan. Normally, SAL is higher up in the atmosphere, so the effects near the ground level are normally not impacted with ground visibility greatly.

sahara dust storm, delmarva, sunsets, SAL,
When the dust settles over the USA

Good news for us on Delmarva, we won’t be seeing incredibly reduced visibility. The Saharan Dust is expected to be picked up by the jet stream and overspread across the Southeast US and the Mid-Atlantic going into the weekend time frame. By this point, the dust will be safely be carried well into the atmosphere. Skies will be looking quite hazy like there is smoke around. Similar to what we typically see from wildfires in Canada blowing in. Take note though, allergy suffers might be impacted by this. Keep eyes to the sky this weekend coming up for some beautiful sunsets!

Hunter Outten
Delmarva WX

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