Saharan dust helping to keep tropics quiet

Weather Blog

(Credit: WFLA)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After a busy stretch of days with Hurricane Elsa last week, not much activity at all is expected in the tropics this week.

The quiet conditions are thanks in part to a renewed batch of Saharan dust moving across the Atlantic.

There’s only one area in the Atlantic Basin currently being monitored by the National Hurricane Center, and it’s not of any concern.

A non-tropical area of low pressure several hundred miles south of the Canadian Maritimes could develop some characteristics as it wobbles south over warmer waters. This system only has a 10% chance of tropical development over the next five days and will likely stay out over open water.

Gusty winds over the Sahara Desert in Africa kick up dust this time of year, and easterly trade winds can carry it more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic. Most of the dust is suspended high up in the atmosphere at an altitude of about 1 to 4 miles.

Another healthy batch of dust emerging off of Africa will help to limit development over the next several days.

Tropical activity typically peaks late August into September.

Elsa did much of its damage in the U.S. as a tropical storm, causing flooding in several eastern states as it tracked from Florida through Georgia, the mid-Atlantic states and New England.

It was the earliest fifth-named storm on record, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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