Dust cloud covers Phoenix for third time this summer
A huge wall of dust moves over the Phoenix area on Thursday.
August 19th, 2011
10:37 AM ET

Dust cloud covers Phoenix for third time this summer

A massive dust storm rolled through Phoenix on Thursday, the third such storm to blanket its metropolitan area this summer.

The cloud of dust was 50 to 60 miles wide and 3,000 to 4,000 feet high, National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Leins in Phoenix said.

The dust reduced visibility to under a quarter-mile, was likely to blame for several traffic accidents and closed Sky Harbor International Airport for 40 minutes, according to a report in The Arizona Republic. More than 5,000 people lost electrical power at some point, and a few dozen structures and vehicles were damaged, the paper said.

Leins said the massive dust cloud, also known by the Arabic term haboob, was driven by 40-mph to 50-mph winds spawned by severe thunderstorms that form to the southeast of the Valley of the Sun, where Phoenix sits.

The storms push out winds that travel unimpeded through the desert, picking up dust, dirt and debris and carrying it over the valley, Leins said. Damage in these situations is caused by thunderstorms rather than the dust cloud, he said.

Thursday's dust cloud was the third to rip through the Valley of the Sun this year. Haboobs also enveloped Phoenix on July 5 and 18.

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Filed under: Arizona • Weather
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Mich

    We are not in Saudi Arabia, this is a freaking DUST storm, and we have had them for years. Why the sudden popularity? Who remembers all the PSA's about the dust storms and pulling over to the side of the road?

    August 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • KJ

      AGREED. I AM A 4TH GERNERATION NATIVE. WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD DUST STORMS HERE, AND THEY ARE JUST THAT "DUST STORMS" WHY DO WE HAVE TO GIVE EVERYTHING HERE A FOREIGN NAME FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS HERE NOW? WE HAVE ENOUGH FOREIGNERS HERE. WE DON'T NEED THE FOREIGN NAMES OUT.

      August 27, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. germ

    Terror Alert, what in the HELL are you going on about? You make no sense!!!

    August 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Anomic Office Drone

    What a shythole. I'm surprised the illegals didn't leave already.

    August 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Beefburger

    Leave that rag.head sh!t in rag.headland, it was a DUST STORM. Haboobs are what Arabic women have under their burka and suicide vest.

    August 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dan

    Who cares what the muslims call it?? I'm fed up with the media being used by the muslims (and they are being used) to tell me about the goodness in those lands and in that vile gutter religion.

    August 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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