Saharan dust headed toward Florida: Here's what it means for the tropics

A layer of Saharan dust working its way toward the Gulf of Mexico is keeping things quiet in the tropics. 

FOX 13 Meteorologist Valerie Mills says Saharan dust is currently moving off the coast of Africa. It will move west toward the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week.  

The Saharan Air Layer, which is known as Saharan dust, is made up of sand, dirt, and other dust that is lifted into the atmosphere from the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa. 

The dust is carried in the African waves which push westward into the Atlantic Ocean. 

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The Saharan Air Layer is a well-mixed dry pocket of air that usually resides between 5,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level. 

The Saharan dust often inhibits tropical development because one of the key ingredients for tropical cyclone development is a deep feed of moisture. 

"This is really going to limit any waves that may try to develop as they are really going to have to contend with this drier air," FOX 13 Meteorologist Valerie Mills stated. 

The Saharan dust should keep the tropics quiet for the next five to seven days, but FOX 13 Meteorologist Dave Osterberg says the dust usually goes away by mid to late July. 

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