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. bill

    As soon as Sarah Pallin moved into town dust storms followed, glad she did not move to Florida, we don't need hurricanes.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. 50 and still WFO

    Palin lives in Scottsdale now?!?!? Holy Crapola!! No wonder the dirt gods are all up in a roar! Since the "idiot balance" has been upset with her arrival .. it explains a lot around here. Blood dripping from the walls, dogs gathering in packs at night, these Haboobs we've been having. Yup, it all makes sense now. (Btw .. to the bigot that posted his/her disapproval of the "Arabic word Haboob" ... that person is probably angry that we use Arabic numbers as well! Some poeple's little arrogant bigot babies!).

    "It's f'in America ... we use ARABIC NUMBERS here!" ... dork.

    Back to The Great Alaskan Divider .... Oh well, she'll fit in just fine with the Barret Jackson crowd. HaaHaa!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. V. P..

    Wow nice picture, but I'm sure dangerous to ones health.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Vic of New York

    ..No such thing as global climete change. Go ask Gov "Parry".

    August 19, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      It is NOT "climate change" or "global warming". Blah, blah, blah,blah....... Its called a "dust storm". The article describes how and why it happens. It has been happening for millenia or pretty much since the Valley of the Sun has been there. It is not some recent new thing. Stop the climate change lying madness. It is ALL A CROCK OF B.S. And it is called "dust storm". Stop interjecting Arab words (haboob) into the English language to be culturally inclusive. Let the Arabs choke on their own dust.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Perrys mom

      There is no evolution either, we do not allow science text books in our home.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • popejon

      Hey dumba$$, if we didn't "interject" words from other languages, there would be no english language... I bet you think Jesus spoke english 2000 years ago, right?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      F – I think the fact that so many of our military have seen these while deployed has given the term haboob its main stream OK.

      My son sent me pix of the first one he seen in 05 while in Iraq. Living in FL he had no idea what it was. He asked a local and the local says haboob – my son emails me later and says it was a haboob... he had a word for the strange dust storm he had just hunkered down through.

      BTW – the English language is full of "barrowed" words from other cultures. This isn't the first, get over it!

      August 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BKS

    Another starship has landed.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Randall Hale

    It was unclear to me from reading the article, as to whether the dust cloud is followed by the thunderstorms. I have not experienced such an event. Are the thunderstorms right behind the dust clouds? So would not the thunderstorms wash the dust away?

    August 19, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      The winds that cause the dust storm are being pushed away from the approaching thunderstorm push the dust ahead of the storm and into dry areas. Teh thunderstorm follows the dust strom. The thunderstorm eventually wets down the dust, but by that time, the whole area is covered in dust, and now a muddy dusty mess.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JRAD

      YES. iT IS FOLLOWED BY INTENSE STORMS AND LIGHTNING

      August 19, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. fritz

    Listen up you media pundits! Stop calling this phenomenon a 'haboob'! It's a dust storm! Got it!? I'm so irritated the media insists on supplanting an english term with an arab word! We speak English here! Not arabic! It's a dust storm! Not some reference to some woman's breast! We adopted the arab's number system long ago! What more do you want? Just shut the haboob up about dust storms, you stupid haboobish fools!

    August 19, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      I agree 100%. Speak English. It is a 'dust storm'. A haboob is an Arab womans teet that you will never see because it is covered in a burka.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Apul M'Deek Aoud

      ؃؁؏كقٿټڇڇ

      August 19, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • tekstep1

      By that logic, you should stop using terms like latte, spaghetti, bagels, monsoon, typhoon, cyclone, etc. Just because the root of a word (and the scientific term) comes from a country you don't like doesn't mean its not still called that. We get tones of words from the Arabic world. Bet you hate ordering tortillas...

      August 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Fritz: F – I think the fact that so many of our military have seen these while deployed has given the term haboob its main stream OK.

      My son sent me a pix of the first one he seen in 05 while in Iraq. Living in FL he had no idea what it was. He asked a local and the local says haboob – my son emails me later and says it was a haboob... he had a word for the strange storm he had just hunkered down through. There is a difference in a typical, every day dust storm and these huge walls of wind driven dust.

      BTW – the English language is full of "barrowed" words from other cultures. This isn't the first, get over it!

      August 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Nesbitt

    OK so lets see. Dust bowl days returning in the S.W.. Fish stocks falling to dagereous levels on many major fisheries, Massive oil spill the enivronmental impact of which we can't even assess, Ice caps melting and continential low lands beginnig to flood, especially duing stress weather events, Massive coral die offs, massive anphibian die offs. Fantine returning in africa. Malaria migrating north in the americas along with other tropical diseases, Asian counties filled to the brim with people who can't even begin to contoll the kind of diseases that leads to.

    Gonna be a rough few decades folks, and if you are waiting for the gentleman in Washington to save us. Well........Never Mind

    August 19, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Fairy godmother

      Are you incinuating there are boobs in Wahington.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Nesbitt

      Saggy boobs at that

      August 19, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe here in Colorado

    I like looking at haboobs.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      Haboobs. Heh, heh, heh.......

      August 19, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. jj

    it wasnt as bad as the one a couple months ago but bad enough to keep me inside cough cough

    August 19, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. lil' griz

    one haboob, Ok. Two haboobs, interesting. THREE haboobs, that just ain't right.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      Ever the AHNOLD movie Total Recall? The midget girl on Mars had three haboobs !!!!

      August 19, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • DLM

      When you get past one Haboob they are then call HaBOOBIES.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lil' griz

    Are these Sarah Palins haboobs?

    August 19, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. justathought

    I know you are gon'a hate me for this, but: Matthew 24:6-8

    August 19, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Fairy godmother

      It says the end is near so not be alarmed. We always have a choice, I hope we make the right ones.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • sp

      who is matthew and why does his phone number look weird ?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pjh

    ahhh, Ms. Palin farted in the desert.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      Well at least it wasn't a wet one.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Squid

    Global Warming rears its ugly head once again

    August 19, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      So Phoenix is global now?

      August 19, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Perrys mom

      Now you know there is no such thing as global warming, its just a rumor. Although it is hotter than He double hockey sticks here in TX.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
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