Above is an animation from the NASA GEOS-5 model, showing the spread of dust from the Saharan Desert of Africa, Westward across the tropical Atlantic (model data via Dr. Ryan Maue of WeatherBell).
The plume of dust is associated with a hot, dry layer of air that continues to spread West into the tropics, eroding the deep moist layer that is needed for significant tropical development. It will be interesting to monitor this resource for signs of a breakdown in the "dust train", which could signal an uptick in tropical development shortly thereafter.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone not to be lured into a false sense of security due to the seemingly "slow start" to the tropical weather season. As I always point out, whether we have 15 hurricanes or 1 hurricane in a given season, it only takes 1 hitting the wrong place at the wrong time to have a potentially disastrous result.
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