Tropics Tracker: Late-season Saharan dust plume could help tame active stretch

Saharan dust arrives in Florida next week

Tropical satellite
Tropical satellite

ORLANDO, Fla. – The tropics remain active with Grace and Henri churning in the Caribbean and Atlantic respectively. Grace will continue to impact parts of Mexico while Henri could be pulled into New England over the weekend.

Florida is in the clear from both storms, other than rough surf and a high rip current risk from Henri this weekend. Fred continues to move through interior New England after making landfall in the Florida Panhandle Monday. Fred marks the second landfall in Florida this season. Elsa also made landfall as a tropical storm in Taylor County, near the Big Bend of Florida.

Post Fred, things should quiet down for the rest of the month, tropical-wise, for the sunshine state. A massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert is en route to Florida and should help calm the tropics down in the short term.

Hurricane season to date:

Grace became the second hurricane of the 2021 season Wednesday. Typically, the second hurricane of the season develops Aug. 28. Last season, the second hurricane of the season developed on July 31.

In terms of ACE, or accumulated cyclone energy, a metric to measure the intensity of storms and the overall season, we stand at 22.2 a little above the average of 15.4.

By this time last year, the “K” named storm had already developed.

2021 vs 2020 to date

The “L” storm, Laura, developed on Aug 20, so 2021 is still well behind the breakneck pace of 2021.

2020 hurricane season to date

Another disturbance looks to emerge off of Africa heading into the weekend. At this point, it appears the dust will have an impact and keep it relatively weak. The weakness in the Bermuda high steering the dust across the Atlantic should help to also steer this disturbance north at this point.

The peak of hurricane season is Sept 10.


About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.