29 Nov, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Huge dust storms over Africa made a 5,000-mile trans-Atlantic journey, sailing over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexica, making landfall on Thursday, engulfing several states in dessert dust. Portions of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida were covered in milky-looking skies and enjoyed an unusually enhanced sunset on Friday evening. The dense dust cloud, nicknamed the “Gorilla Dust Cloud”,  is expected to move across the southern US over the weekend. A thinner cloud is expected to travel up the east coast. A denser concentration of dust will hover over the Southeast, mainly Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

It has been several decades since such a phenomenon has appeared in the US and the current dust cloud breaks all records.

As the dust crosses the Atlantic, “it usually occupies a 2-mile-thick layer of the atmosphere with its base starting about 1 mile above the surface,” NOAA hurricane researcher Jason Dunion said. The dust was so thick in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean, it darkened the skies and reduced visibility to only a few miles. The dust adversely affects air quality and experts noted that the dust could add to challenges faced by people infected with the coronavirus, complicating the respiratory ailments they face. Medical experts recommended staying indoors.

The dust cloud was so immense that it could be clearly seen from the International Space Station.

Though rare. the appearance of Saharan dust over the US is not unheard of. referred to as the Saharan Air Layer (SAL), it occurs when an extremely hot, dry and dust-laden layer of the atmosphere overlies the cooler, more-humid surface air of the Atlantic Ocean. Nonetheless, this appearance of the SAL surprised scientists.

“While it’s normal for Saharan dust to reach the US every hurricane season, this event is unprecedented in thickness and coverage,” Mauldin says.
“Usually by the time dust from the Sahara has traveled this far, much of it has been dispersed and/or deposited to the ocean so that typically this long-range transport to the Americas would involve much lower concentrations,” Claire Ryder, NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Reading, told CNN Weather.
The SAL does bear benefits. It tends to hamper the development of hurricanes, due to its warm, dry air, according to NOAA. The dust also “plays an important ecological role, such as fertilizing soils in the Amazon and building beaches in the Caribbean,” NASA’s Earth Observatory said.
It is important to note that dust storms are an instrument of God, used as a harsh to return to performing His will.
The skies above your head shall be copper and the earth under you iron.  Hashem will make the rain of your land dust, and sand shall drop on you from the sky, until you are wiped out. Deuteronomy 28:23-24
In precisely the manner described in the Bible, sand will be dropping on the US from the sky.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for sand, חול (chol), is the same as the word for “secular” or “ordinary” ,that which is not set aside or holy. This may lend a double-meaning to the verse in Isaiah.

Arise, shake off the dust, Sit [on your throne], Yerushalayim! Loose the bonds from your neck, O captive one, Fair Tzion! Isaiah 52:2