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Did things seem hazy to you over the weekend?

Contributed • Jun 30, 2020 at 12:00 PM

You’ve probably read or heard national news stories recently about clouds from a large dust storm, originating in the Sahara, that’s been headed across the Atlantic Ocean and expected to pass over the Southeastern United States.

If you were out in Kingsport over the weekend, there was a definite haze. Times News reader Calvin Sneed captured some images of what he and others believe was the dust storm showing itself in the Model City.

The phenomenon is known as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL).

More from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

• The Saharan Air Layer is a mass of very dry, dusty air that forms over the Sahara Desert during the late spring, summer, and early fall, and moves over the tropical North Atlantic every three to five days. Saharan Air Layer outbreaks usually occupy a 2 to 2.5-mile-thick layer of the atmosphere with the base starting about 1 mile above the surface. The warmth, dryness, and strong winds associated with the Saharan Air Layer have been shown to suppress tropical cyclone formation and intensification.

• Saharan Air Layer activity usually ramps up in mid-June, peaks from late June to mid-August, and begins to rapidly subside after mid-August. During this peak period, individual Saharan Air Layer outbreaks reach farther to the west (as far west as Florida, Central America and even Texas) and cover vast areas of the Atlantic (sometimes as large as the lower 48 United States).

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