Summer is Here & So is the Dust

Dust June 21 2019
The dust is heavy today. June 21, 2019

Today is the first day of summer … yahoo! And with summer, here on St. John, comes the dust, and the dust is currently here in force.

For those of you who regularly watch the webcams, you may have noticed a bit of a haze in the picture today and over the last couple of days. That haze is actually dust, dust that came all the way from the Saharan Desert in Africa. It’s something that happens each summer, and it’s supposed to help keep hurricanes away. So it’s a welcomed thing of sorts.

The dust 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. It also becomes very hot, something those of you on island may have also noticed over the past few days.

Here’s a better explanation that Eleanor Gibney gave us back in 2015:

“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.”

The first satellite image shows the amount of dust that’s currently near the Territory. The second shows the amount that will be here Monday. The swath isn’t as large, but it will still be here.

The dust layer as of Friday morning.
The dust layer as of Friday morning.
The dust layer for Tuesday, June 24.
The dust layer for Monday, June 24.

You can track the dust layer here.

When the dust arrives, I usually get questions asking how long it arrives. That’s hard to answer other than to say that it comes and goes. Your best bet it to check the forecast using this link. One great thing about the dust is that it makes for great sunsets. So be sure to check out those webcams around 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as sunset is currently at 6:58 p.m. EST.

That’s all we have for you today. “News” you can use! Have a great Friday everyone!

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