FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- Chances are you’ve heard the saying, “Red skies at night, sailors delight.” The old adage refers to the color of an evening sky foretelling of clear weather for the next day. The red skies are caused by the scattering of sunlight because of water vapor and other minute particles in the sky at sunset.
Late next week, the sunsets may be more colorful than usual thanks to the Sahara desert. That’s a right, dust particles from the Sahara desert more than 5,000 miles away could travel all the way to central plains and turn sunsets a brighter shade of orange or red.
Saturday evening, that dust cloud had spread over 2,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s a snapshot from the GOES-16 satellite which detected the cloud of dust over the Atlantic as early as June 13.
The Saharan dust layer is sometimes hard to pick out on satellite pictures, so in order to get better feel for it I will show you a product that we have at our disposal called the Dust Extinction layer. It picks up any sands or minerals that are blown into the air.
This is what the dust layer is forecast to look like Sunday evening. You can see it stretches from the coast of Africa all the way to Caribbean.
This dust layer could help prevent tropical storms or hurricanes from forming over the next week. That’s because heavy dust concentrations like the one shown above reduce the intensity of the sunlight which has an impact on sea surface temperatures and thus puts a lid on hurricane development.
The trade winds off the coast of Africa will push the dust into the Gulf of Mexico early next week. The Houston, Texas area is expecting a thick layer of dust in the atmosphere beginning Tuesday. A great amount of the dust will dissipate once it moves into Texas, but remnants of the dust will find their way into Kansas and southern Missouri either Thursday or Friday.
It appears, judging by the map above, that Wichita, Tulsa, and Springfield could have spectacularly gorgeous sunsets. That’s if the sky is clear at sunset.
Here in Kansas City, since the sun sets in the southwest sky this time of year, there is a chance, given the right conditions, that our sunsets will have added color to them starting next Thursday and perhaps lasting into next weekend.
So, get those cameras ready and be sure to share any great photos you get with us at KCTV5. Happy sky-watching!