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Severe storms possible through the weekend — but they may keep this giant dust cloud away

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Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.
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Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.

UPDATE: A significant weather alert has been issued for Miami-Dade and Broward counties Thursday afternoon.

South Florida is in a pattern of strong-to-severe thunderstorms through the weekend — with some potential accompanying wind gusts up to 60 mph.

At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service in Miami issued a significant weather advisory for coastal, inland and metro areas of Miami-Dade until 1:15 p.m.. due to the threat of gusty winds and small hail.

But the downpours could have one possible health benefit. They may keep us from coughing from a large Saharan dust plume expected to blanket much of the Atlantic through Friday and spread into the Caribbean over the weekend and into early next week, according to CBS4 meteorologist Craig Setzer.

People with respiratory issues in the Caribbean ought to be aware, he said.

The leading edge of the Saharan dust cloud could edge in the direction of the South Florida coast over the weekend but break off before affecting the area, according to satellite maps at Fox 13. The Saharan dust layer will merit watching into the week, though, to determine its potential effect on the mainland U.S.

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Fox 13 meteorologists are looking at a layer of Saharan dust moving in Atlantic waters on June 13, 2019, and tracking its spread into the next work week. Fox 13 News

The Saharan dust also tamps down tropical storm development in the Atlantic. Tropical cyclone activity is not expected for the next two days, the National Hurricane Center reports.

Back to South Florida: The National Weather Service in Miami issued a hazardous weather outlook to note that, once again, our afternoons will be marked by strong to severe thunderstorms and their usual byproducts. That likely means “frequent to excessive lightning,” along with gusty winds, hail that could be nickel-sized in spots along the east coast metro areas, funnel clouds, and heavy rainfall.

Bad weather in Atlanta leaves passengers stuck at gates and inside terminals due to flight delays and cancellations at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport.

The strongest storms Thursday afternoon could produce wind gusts in excess of 45 mph. But a few of these storms could give off gusts up to 60 mph — likely faster than you’ll be traveling on Florida’s Turnpike this afternoon if the predictions come to fruition.

Chances of showers and thunderstorms increase to 60% chance Friday and Saturday and dip a bit to 50% on Sunday in Miami-Dade and Broward. But the Florida Keys — from Key Largo to Key West — also is looking at storm chances of 50% this weekend.

Temperatures will be in the upper 80s.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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