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Florida needs a dyson

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by on 07-19-2012 at 12:12 AM (5192 Views)
Dust particles sweeping in from across the Atlantic will lower rain chances in South Florida and create a ‘milky’ sky.

Story by STEVEN MONTERO at the Miami Herald

Look up at the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Saharan dust.

While summer thunderstorms pound South Florida, an odd but regular visitor arrives in the Sunshine State this week: dust particles from the African Sahara.

Robert Molleda, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Miami-Dade forecast office, said we should have little to fear from the trans-Atlantic guest. The dust layer typically remains 5,000-6,000 feet above the ground and will paint the sky a “milky” shade, he said.

“It’s not a very sharp or well-defined line that will come in,” Molleda said. “It will be kind of a gradual transition. Wednesday we’ll start noticing that milky or hazy appearance.”

He said the most noticeable effects will occur Thursday and Friday.

Every year dust sweeps across the ocean along the trade winds and slips into the skies above Florida and many Caribbean nations. Already this year, Molleda said, there have been several instances of this dust in South Florida.

“Back in June we’ve had a couple of occasions where minor events like this have happened,” he said. “This one will probably be a little bit more noticeable.”

When the dust arrives, it settles into its own later of Saharan air and stabilizes the atmosphere, reducing the amount of clouds and trapping the surface-based air into the atmosphere’s lower levels. That can cause irritation to people who are especially sensitive to particles in the air.

Meteorologist Chuck Caracozza said it won’t affect people any more than other allergens such as pollen. And it won’t cut visibility, he said.

Molleda said people who are sensitive should take precaution just in case.

“It’s not something where we’ll be issuing any kind of formal alerts but people who are definitely sensitive should be careful,” he said.

At the very least, the rain might stop.

A 20 percent chance of rain is expected for Wednesday and Friday, while hazy conditions will stick around Thursday -- without a chance for rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Higher temperatures are predicted as the dense Saharan layer insulates the atmosphere and suspends the mixing associated with South Florida’s usual sea breeze. The stabilization will lower rain chances although temperatures will spring up to the low-90s and inland areas may experience the mid-90s.

“It’s going to be noticeably hotter and more uncomfortable,” Molleda said. “There won’t be a big difference in humidity but with the higher temperatures it will give us a higher heat index.”

Despite the rise in mercury, there’s still reason to step outside twice a day. During sunrise and sunset hours, the sunlight passes through the extra layer in the atmosphere. This causes sunlight to reflect off the particles and stroke the sky with brilliant red and orange hues.

Source: Miami Herald Saharan dust changes South Florida skies - Miami-Dade -

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Tags: dust , florida , rain , saharan , weather Add / Edit Tags
Tropical Weather , General Weather , Outdoors , Storm Chasing


  1. Cos's Avatar
    That's a first for me. First time first.
    Thanks Dewey.
    I'll be watching for Sal, and Vinnie and Guido.
  2. kaiden's Avatar
    Thanks Dewey, an interesting write up on Dust.
  3. kaiden's Avatar
    Re ported, De ported and Ex ported Cos
  4. beell's Avatar
  5. Scooster67's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kaiden
    Re ported, De ported and Ex ported Cos
    ........and Sal, and Vinnie and Guido.
  6. StAugustineFL's Avatar
    Desert dust on Viagra. Who knew?
  7. beell's Avatar
    lol, Aug.
  8. Geep's Avatar
    That's it I'm tired of dusting (it's a girl thing) and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. atmoaggie's Avatar
    My personal plottage of NASA's GOCART model. (Actually aerosol optical extinction due to dust under the hood.)

    Yes, I am only updating it once per day, though they run it at 00, 06, 12, 18. It comes in about 12 hours after the forecast run time,,,so 00 UTC gets updated at ~12 UTC.
  10. FLdewey's Avatar
    That's awesome!
  11. libgoon's Avatar
    Dewey a great read thanks ...We were even getting the dust up here a couple of weeks ago ...Just made the rain dirty: lol: Guess part of me wishes that it would go, so a decent fish will form ... but to dissipate a couple hundred miles away from me .

    About 12 years ago I knew someone who found a dyson so interesting that you could see their excitement as they described at length what they thought of a Dyson ....Guess I know some strange people

    Atmo I think I already said that is a really cool Gif
  12. scouter534's Avatar
    I looked out my window this morning and thought I saw the haze, then I realized I just needed to clean my windows.
  13. FtMyersgal's Avatar
    Nice blog Dewey. Skies here are a bit hazy already, but I'm sure it will get more noticible later today and tomorrow.

    scouter - Now that's funny!!
  14. libgoon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by scouter534
    I looked out my window this morning and thought I saw the haze, then I realized I just needed to clean my windows.
    Know the feeling
  15. FLdewey's Avatar
    LOL scouter!
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