Haboob? What Is That?

Well it sounds a tad silly, but it is a certain kind of dust storm. This kind of storm occurs in very dry climates like the Sahara Desert, Kuwait and Iraq. It can also occur in the Desert SW of the US. It happens near a dissipating thunderstorm. You have heard of a downdraft or downburst right? Well that is when the wind from a thunderstorm races toward the ground and since it has now where to go, it spreads out across the ground so to speak. Here is a visual.

 

That strong wind blows the dry loose sand or dust creating a wall of dust. This wall of dust can travel 20-30 mph. This will lower visibility in the surrounding area. The pictures below are of a Haboob that happened yesterday and traveled from Tuscon to Phoenix. It actually shut down the airport for an hour. The height of this Haboob reached 10,000 feet at times, and it was 50 miles wide! Amazing really and not something you ever want to get stuck in.

Sarah

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