Weather Stories

Saharan dust limiting tropical development as hurricane season ramps up

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It has been a mostly quiet start to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season compared to the last few years. Prior to the start of August, there have only been 3 named storms in the Atlantic. In 2020, there were 9 named storms in the same time frame.

The month of August usually signifies a time period where the tropical season starts to become more active. However, right now across most of the Atlantic Ocean, Saharan dust is limiting tropical development. A big plume of dust is exiting the coast of Africa (coming from the Saharan Desert), and should spread through much of the development region where tropical systems would usually form over the next few days.

The dust itself reduces sunlight that reaches the surface which doesn’t allow thunderstorms to develop and grow. Some spots in the Caribbean could see more vibrant sunrises and sunsets as a result of the dust. If the dust does stays stagnant in an area, poor air quality may be something to watch too.

Although conditions are unfavorable for tropical development in the short term, the U.S coastline will have to remain vigilant the closer we get to the peak of hurricane season.