Saharan dust expected to limit tropical development for next few weeks

The chances for tropical storms and hurricanes will be much lower for the next few weeks

Saharan dust expected to limit tropical development for next few weeks
Saharan dust is expected to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Africa over the next couple of weeks, which will significantly reduce the risk for tropical storms and hurricanes. (Source: WWBT)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After an active start to the season in late May and early June, a lull in the tropical storm and hurricane season is expected for at least the next few weeks into early July.

With the exception of a very low (10%) chance for development near the North Carolina coastline, there are currently no signs of tropical development in the Atlantic basin.

With the exception of a very low (10%) chance of a weak system developing near the coast of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center does not expect tropical development in the next 5 days.
With the exception of a very low (10%) chance of a weak system developing near the coast of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center does not expect tropical development in the next 5 days. (Source: WWBT)

The weather pattern over much of the Atlantic ocean will become increasingly unfavorable for the development of tropical systems from now through at least the beginning of July.

One of the biggest reasons for the low risk of tropical development will be expansion of a huge area of dust from the Saharan desert over the tropical Atlantic. The easterly trade winds sometimes allow these areas of dust from Africa to spread across the Atlantic.

Tropical systems feed off moist, humid air, and the dry air associated with Saharan dust makes it difficult, if not impossible, for tropical systems to develop.

Saharan dust is expected to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Africa over the next couple of weeks, which will significantly reduce the risk for tropical storms and hurricanes.
Saharan dust is expected to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Africa over the next couple of weeks, which will significantly reduce the risk for tropical storms and hurricanes. (Source: WWBT)

Hurricane season is typically quiet at the beginning of the season from June through early August, but don’t let your guard down. In a typical hurricane season, the peak does not happen until late August through September and into early October.

One factor we look at to determine whether it will be an active hurricane season later in the summer is the phase of ENSO (better known as La Nina or El Nino). El Nino patterns are unfavorable for Atlantic hurricane development, while a La Nina often leads to an active hurricane season. When we are not in a La Nina or El Nino pattern, we are considered to be ENSO neutral, which can be a favorable pattern for tropical development.

The June update published on climate.gov indicates that although a La Nina is still possible this fall (45% chance of La Nina), ENSO neural is more likely for the rest of the summer (60% chance).

Be sure to download the NBC12 First Alert Weather app for updates on any tropical threats for the rest of the summer and fall.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.