Nope, that’s not haze you’ve been seeing in the sky over the past 24 hours or so. It’s dust, and it looks like it’s here to stay for a bit.
It happens every spring and summer. Dust from the Saharan Desert travels west and clouds up the skies over the Virgin islands. It occurs when an increase of warm air causes sand particles to rise above the desert. Those particles are then transported over the Atlantic Ocean and across to the Caribbean. When the dust arrives in the territory, the islands’ typical bright blue skies are replaced by a haze. Visibility is reduced, and the air quality becomes poor.
Here’s a better explanation courtesy of Eleanore Gibney:
“What we are seeing is the effects of desertification as the Sahara has been spreading south. The fine particles of soil from formerly fertile lands are easily blown off, unlike heavier sand particles. The process accelerated in the past 40 years, prior to that visible dust was never noted in the VI.”
This satellite image shows the amount of dust that’s currently near the Territory:
Here are a few pics we took late Tuesday afternoon: