Last week, a Saharan dust cloud began its journey across the Atlantic towards The Sunshine State. With stellar sunsets on the horizon, you could be in for some serious photo fuel this weekend. And while the "Godzilla dust cloud" can create a beautiful sky, it can also be a bit of a hazard.
These masses of dry, dusty air blowing in from the Sahara Desert are not uncommon during the summer months, but one of this magnitude and concentration hasn't been seen in almost 15 years.
While the cloud typically retains higher altitudes and will bring more stunning sunsets to Florida, the sheer size of this occurrence could also be aggravating to people with respiratory issues.
Weather.com meteorologist Domenica Davis reported that air quality has already been impacted in the Gulf states. The massive dust cloud is forecasted to hover over Florida through this weekend and into next week as it slowly pushes north.
A magnificent view of a dust plume from @NOAA's #GOESEast, from June 23. Known as the #SaharanAirLayer, this partic… https://t.co/fD2UTBWczh— NOAA Satellites (@NOAA Satellites) 1593000725.0
Fox 35 Weather reported the massive dust storm brought its heaviest concentration over Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, leading to hazardous air quality conditions and a reduction in visibility in some areas — though it is not currently expected to cause major reductions to Florida's air quality.
One good thing about these dust clouds is that their extremely dry conditions help to inhibit the development of cyclones and tropical storms, with the potential to weaken the intensity of storms that do manage to form.
#Dust plume from the Sahara Desert will spread into parts of the U.S. this weekend bringing hazy skies, reduced air… https://t.co/UDH6TWSgrp— The Weather Channel (@The Weather Channel) 1593174240.0
Just in time for a little break from hurricane season!
The dust could also enhance Florida’s already gorgeous sunsets, reflecting light off of its particles to give the sky a deep red or orange glow.
If you needed an excuse to drag your boo to the beach for a sunset stroll this weekend, here's your chance. Maybe you can rope them into being your photographer for that bomb backdropped Insta shot you've been waiting for.
A video from News 6 Orlando on YouTube from June 25 of 2019 showcases just how deeply crimson the sky can appear during this natural phenomenon.
Weather.com reports that the dust will impact parts of the South into next week, with a second plume flowing over the Caribbean and possibly reaching the Gulf as well.
Stay indoors if you’re feeling unwell, and keep an eye out for some awesome sunsets!