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Toxic Algae, Red Tide and Now Sahara Desert Dust

Blue-green algae, red tide and now Sahara desert dust.

( SOURCE: NASA ) Saharan Dust over the Cape Verde Islands

Usually once a year during the summer months dust from the Sahara desert blows our way. Southwest Florida is about to get what’s called the Saharan Air Layer or SAL. This dust is a hot, dry layer of the atmosphere that often lies over a cooler more humid surface of air.

How is it getting to Southwest Florida from Africa?

The dust gets picked up from the deserts of Africa and is blown more than six thousand miles across the Atlantic ocean and into the Gulf of Mexico. This giant dust cloud could cover the lower 48 states.

( SOURCE: NASA ) Saharan Dust on June 28, 2018.

Experts don’t know exactly when the Saharan Dust will get here, but they’re predicting sometime this week. They do expect this dust to affect our air.

The Saharan dust could cause allergic reactions like coughing and itchy eyes, but the dust particles are very small. They’re also so high up in the atmosphere that they typically don’t cause major problems. It will feel a bit hotter than normal for this time of year with highs around 94-97 degrees because of this phenomenon.

The good about all this dust according to NASA is that it slows down tropical storms and reduces the number of developing hurricanes and it helps create some absolutely gorgeous sunsets. Additionally, the dust also helps build beaches in the Caribbean and fertilizes soils in the Amazon.

The forecast by the National Weather Service shows scattered showers and scattered thunderstorms for Fort Myers.

Reporting by Allyssa Dickert