TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A layer of Saharan dust is still making its trek across the Atlantic Ocean toward the United States this week.
The dry and dusty air from the Sahara Desert often limits tropical development. Tropical systems need moisture to form and strengthen. Without much moisture, storms are shut down early.
The plume of dust is going to continue into next week.
The dust particles can absorb and reflect sunlight, so parts of the southeast have noticed hazy sunrises and sunsets recently. The iron-rich dust can help algae blooms or red tide develop, but the dust also helps fertilize the soil.
While the dust plume covers much of the Atlantic, Caribbean and even into the Gulf of Mexico, the area near Central America is mostly free from the dust right now. That’s also where a tropical wave has formed.
Overall, the chances for the wave to organize to a tropical depression or storm are slim, but it’s not impossible. Right now the National Hurricane Center says there’s a 30% chance of it happening in the next five days.
The wave will slowly drift north along the coast of Central America and may be a big rain-maker for places like Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Tracking the Tropics streams at 2 p.m. ET every Wednesday during hurricane season. For the latest updates, check out our Tracking the Tropics website.