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UPDATED: Saharan Dust Spreads Out, Keeps Storms Away from Florida

dust plume
Sahara dust plume Courtesy: NOAA

The massive cloud of Saharan Dust that blanketed the Caribbean earlier this week has mostly moved past South Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s computer forecast model shows that the dust cloud will be over the western and northern Gulf coast on Friday.

Luckily for us here in South Florida, the flow around a high-pressure system in the Atlantic has been spreading most of the dust in a loop, so it misses us.

Another big batch of dust is on our doorstep, forecast to arrive over the eastern Caribbean islands on Thursday and to continue west.

Over the next week or two, that dust will generally spread out over the entire Gulf and Caribbean region, including South Florida.

That means no area will have to deal with a dense concentration, although we will have milky skies and extra-colorful sunsets.

A positive angle of the Saharan Dust spreading across the tropical Atlantic is that it helps keeps tropical development under control.

No systems of concern are expected to develop through the middle of next week or even longer.

As far as the heat goes, our “feels-like” temperatures in the triple digits will continue at least into the weekend, according to forecasters.

The heat index, which is a calculation of the mix of heat and humidity, reached 105 in the eastern part of Palm Beach County around 2 p.m. Thursday, even as the air temperature stayed at around 90 degrees.

Muggy conditions, which were aggravated by the Saharan dust, have been bringing heat indexes between 98 and 109 to Palm Beach County since the beginning of the week.

The heat index will be closer to 100 into the weekend, depending on rain, which most likely will not get here until Sunday.