The first plume of Saharan dust to impact the Southeast during the summer has the potential to influence air quality and make for dramatic sunrise and sunset colors this weekend in the Sunshine State.

The FOX Forecast Center said the plume originated over the African continent and, by the time it arrives in Florida, will have traveled more than 5,000 miles.

Plumes of the Saharan Air Layer are common during the early and mid-summer as winds carry the tiny particles across the Atlantic Ocean.

During active SAL episodes, the tropics are usually quiet as the dry air hinders cyclone development and organization.

NOAA says the air has about 50 percent less moisture than the typical atmosphere, which means the presence of the layer can be detrimental to cloud formation and thunderstorm activity.

Forecast models show off-and-on dust plumes could impact Florida and the Gulf Coast through at least the next week.

The potential impact of dust spread over the Southeast this weekend.

In addition to decreased rainfall and colorful sunsets, if the SAL is thick enough, communities could see poor air quality readings.

Unlike the Canadian wildfires that caused hazardous conditions across the Northeast and Midwest, the dust plumes typically remain well above ground level, which lessens the direct impacts on residents in the Southeast.

On some occasions, the dust can mix to lower levels of the atmosphere, causing breathing difficulties for those with weak respiratory systems.

According to WebMD, eye, nose and throat irritations are also possible when there are outbreaks of fine dust particles in the air.

NASA estimates more than 180 million tons of dust leave the continent annually, which can vary depending on how much rain falls across northern Africa.

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