Haboobs

Dust storms can be some of the most dramatic weather events we see in the Valley each year.
 
Another word for a dust storm is "haboob," which is Arabic for the word blown.

Haboobs are giant walls of dust created from high winds rushing out of a collapsing thunderstorm.
 
Cold air in front of the storm rushes down at an incredible rate, picking up massive amounts of dust and sand and blowing them into the air.

As the dust storm builds, it can completely block out the sun, making it nearly impossible to see just a few feet in front of you.

The wall of dust typically reaches heights between 1,500 and 3,000 feet and can stretch as far as 100 miles wide. To put that into perspective, that's the distance between Phoenix and Tucson.
 
However, the Valley has seen dust storms that are even bigger. On July 5 th, 2011, the biggest haboob ever observed in the Valley rolled in.  It was estimated at 5,000 feet tall and stretched the entire length of the Valley, from Goodyear to Apache Junction.

If you get caught outside during a dust storm, seek shelter immediately or you may be hurt by flying rocks and debris being thrown around by winds up to 50 mph.

If you're in the car when a dust storm hits, remember to pull aside and turn off your car's engine and lights and wait until visibility has cleared.

The effects of dust storms can linger for days, worsening our air quality and causing many people difficulty breathing.
Print this article Back to Top

Comments