Just another day in Arizona: another day; another massive dust storm

July 30, 2012ARIZONAA second cloud of yellow in less than a week overwhelmed suburban Phoenix on Sunday, mixing with torrential rains and gusty winds that wreaked havoc on midday traffic in the area. The thick wall of dust, known as a haboob, which is Arabic for ‘strong wind,’ was seen making its way through the town of Laveen about eight miles southwest of downtown Phoenix. The greater Phoenix area and northwest and north central Pinal County were under a dust storm warning that expired at 7pm on Sunday. This comes just days after an enormous dust cloud measuring around 2,000 feet tall and almost 100km wide swept over the city, traveling at 35mph. The dust cut power to some 9,000 homes and caused disruptions at the local airport. Caused by Arizona’s monsoon season which begins in early June and runs through till the end of September, haboob’s only occur in Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Phoenix, Arizona. Known as the grand daddy of dust storms, the haboob is a rare event and is caused by loose dust being blown upwards in the absence of rain and collecting skywards where it is then propelled by another more distant thunderstorm brewing behind it. Despite some of the 1.5 million residents of Phoenix objecting to the term haboob being used, meteorologists in the city confirmed that they have been using the Arabic word to describe the massive dust storms for over 30 years. ‘I think what’s going on is that we’ve had a higher frequency of stronger dust storms over the last couple of years and the term has been in play much more because of that,’ said Ken Waters of the Phoenix National Weather Service office to KPHO. Blowing gusts of up to 50 mph at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, the haboob is destructive because of the fine dust particles that manage to permeate everywhere during the storm. –Daily Mail
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21 Responses to Just another day in Arizona: another day; another massive dust storm

  1. James says:

    I have seen dust storms but nothing that major. I would love to experience one of those… haha maybe I am just weird.

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    • j says:

      I don’t think you understand how bad that duststorm really is. If you are in it with no breathing protection you suffocate. Not my idea of fun… These New larger ones are deadly and one more sign of global warming and the time of the end/the last days of this wicked satanic system if things just before Jesus takes over to clean this earth up and remove the wicked and rebellious ones turning the earth into the paradise it was meant to be. Not this deadly mess we are forced to live in now… Amen Lord Jesus, COME!

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  2. Chris says:

    Certainly is reminiscient of the dust bowl years… although on a smaller scale thus far.

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  3. anvil2011 says:

    I will call it a duststorm…rather than a word invented by terrorists.

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    • The word “terrorist” describes an individual who leans to a violent religio-political ideology, not a population. “Terrorists” have shown up in all faiths, but most predominantly come from the Christian denominations.

      Words, on the other hand, are a component of language (the medium by which a population communicates, usually associated with a geographical location.) And since terrorists use words to communicate, but by the logic you present, you may want to just quit talking.

      Besides, your lack of understanding is hanging out.

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    • michelle says:

      Sorry Alvin, to respond in such a way, but I feel that I must. I find it disgraceful and depressing that some people can exhibit such xenophobia. To judge a word and its users simply because of the words derivation is so incredibly narrowminded, and counter to what we, as humanity, need to exemplify in these hard times that I felt compelled to respond. The word haboob has been existence since the 1800’s and was not invented by terrorists. To judge a people by the acts of a few is so full of hate and ignorance. Please remember that to “love a person is to see the face of God”. We were put here to love one another, not to judge and misjudge and build walls. Please let go of your anger.

      Thanks, I come to this site often for the scientific knowledge that it offers. I would hate to have to stop visiting.
      peace,

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  4. Irene C says:

    “..some of the 1.5 million residents of Phoenix objecting to the term haboob being used..” ROFL. Sorry, I though that was funny. I wonder if they would object to tsunami (Japanese) or hurricane (from the Spanish huracán). Many of our words are derived from other countries. It is what it is. And it’s a haboob.

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  5. Rusty Brown in Canada says:

    “…around 2,000 feet tall and almost 100km wide swept over the city, traveling at 35mph…”

    Is this a deliberate combination of metric and imperial or just a slip-up?

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  6. Oh wow! I just cannot fathom seeing such a huge dust storm like this! I wonder how far it will reach other states? And what effect it will cause?

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  7. Sam Beckett says:

    While concerned about these huge & massive dust storms here & the drought across our nation. One can not but behold the beauty of these huge dust storms, to appreciate how wonderous nature can be! I love science, astronomy & so on…so I find this fascinating. However, if I had my myself in that dust storm, I would be a bit frustrated had I just washed my truck, swept the patio & so on.

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  8. not sure if this report should not have come out on april 1st.

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  9. christopher says:

    dust storms are normal around here, you just want to be indoors when they happen (the east valley usually gets hit harder than central phoenix, and the west valley.)

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  10. hilly7 says:

    I’d be cleaning my pants if I saw that thing coming at me.

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  11. isis2012 says:

    Considering actions and counter reaction … it would take a powerful thrust impacting the surface to cause such a massive movement of dust …

    It would take nothing short of a thrust similar to a NASA launch …

    And rather haboobs are a one wall movement of wind in one direction affecting both land and sky or just land …. OR a circular wall of wind moving in all directions affecting both land and sky or just land … the onset of such massive and strong wind thrust of a haboob is caused by some untold source …

    And just because that source remains out of our frequency scope of visual view … doesn’t exclude that some massive in size celestial craft coming in or leaving out in that general area …. is not the unseen source of the haboob …

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  12. Tasha says:

    Like Christopher said haboobs are normal around here during monsoon season. They are caused by a downdraft in wind from thunderstorms and they almost always come before the rain . A lot of us don’t like the term, not because of it’s origin, but because we’ve always called haboobs dust storms and just because we had a massive one this summer the media decided to call all future dust storms haboobs. It’s kind of silly.

    Technically they’re using the word wrong. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a haboob is a strong wind that occurs along the southern edges of the Sahara in The Sudan and is associated with large sandstorms and duststorms and may be accompanied by thunderstorms. It usually lasts about three hours, is most common during the summer, and may blow from any direction. A haboob may transport huge quantities of sand or dust, which move as a dense wall that can reach a height of 900 metres (about 3,000 feet). The term haboob is taken from the Arabic word habb meaning wind.

    Our dust storms are caused by downdrafts from thunderstorms and they make their way through the valley in about an hour. While they are certainly dense walls of dust dust storms and haboobs are caused by two different sets of events. One is caused by strong winds with or without a thunderstorm (haboob) and the other is caused by downdrafts specifically from thunderstorms (dust storm). So technically, we do not have haboobs here in Arizona.

    That’s why I don’t like using the term, it’s not correct :)

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  13. snm says:

    Ok, so I just happened upon this while researching sand storms in Afghanistan. Funny how when I was younger and liberal, I would have agreed with some of you. Now that I’m older and conservative, I agree with the rest of you. So I’ll call it a dust storm and keep in mind that the media falls all over itself trying to maintain political correctness. And some of you may say — what the — well, enjoy your freedom of speech. And I’ll enjoy mine.

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