The 2022 Hurricane Season begins in just five days and will be the first in 8 years without a pre-season named storm.
What's the science behind our luck?
Despite warm sea surface temperatures and a few healthy tropical waves in the Atlantic Basin, the perfect combination of ingredients just haven't come together. Another bit of help: over the past ten days, a plume of dust from the Saharan Desert in Africa has been traveling across the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. This plume is known as the Saharan Air Layer.
What is SAL?
The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is literally dust from the Sahara that has been lofted into the air by tropical waves on their way out to the Atlantic Ocean. To give you a send of just how much dust fills the sky, the NOAA says the layer is about 2-2.5 miles thick and lingers about a mile above the ground. The SAL usually starts making its seaward journey in the late spring and summer months, reaching its peak during mid-June through August.
SAL is a helpful part of the Atlantic hurricane season— at least for those who live in Coastal communities— because it helps to suppress tropical activity. The dust particles flood the atmosphere, making it hard for tropical systems to form. The layer creates a hostile wind environment and puts a lid on thunderstorms that try to form. The downside is the impact to our air quality when SAL reaches the Coastal Bend!
Check out the KRIS 6 Weather team's 2022 Hurricane Special: Plan. Prepare. Survive. airing June 6th @ 6:30 p.m.