Colorful sunsets expected in Tampa Bay tonight thanks to Saharan dust

Weather

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Plumes of Saharan dust are drifting across the Atlantic and could enhance the sunset in Tampa Bay Wednesday night.

The past few days have been a tad too cloudy/hazy for the truly spectacular sunsets that Saharan dust can provide, but things are shaping up nicely for the possibility of a stunning sunset Wednesday evening.

The sun is expected to set at 7:58 p.m. but keep in mind the sunset time is when the top of the sun touches the horizon. That means much of the beauty of a sunset occurs prior to the actual sunset time.

The level of Saharan dust we’re currently seeing is somewhat unusual this late in the season. We typically see plumes of this density and magnitude in June and July.

The Max Defender 8 Weather Team closely tracks and monitors the dust across the Atlantic to help with hurricane prediction. The dust can inhibit the formation and organization of tropical systems.

Looking at the Atlantic currently, there are several areas Max Defender 8 is monitoring for development, but none in the areas with high levels of Saharan dust.

Saharan dust starts over the Sahara Desert of Africa as a large area of dry, dusty air. The layer, or mass of air, can get caught up in atmospheric winds and travel great distances – often crossing the Atlantic Ocean during the early parts of summer.

Even though the individual dust particles are very small, when the plume arrives, skies will become much hazier. The hazier skies often lead to exceptionally colorful sunrises and sunsets as the light bends around and through the particulate.

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