Saharan dust headed to Mississippi skies, bringing hazy views, enhanced sunsets

Published 10:50 pm Sunday, June 23, 2019

All eyes this time of year along the edges of the Gulf of Mexico are usually focused on tropical weather developments, but early this week, large plumes of dust from the Sahara Desert are headed onshore.

The dusty air, often called the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) forms over the Sahara Desert in Africa and moves over the Atlantic every few days. The SAL is typically between 5,000 and 20,000 feet altitude.

The SAL may cause the skies over southern areas of Mississippi to be more hazy than normal over the next couple of days with an added benefit that sunsets may be more spectacular than usual.

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As an added benefit, the SAL can help prevent or curb the strength of any tropical weather that heads into the Gulf.