Weirdest Weather: Haboobs

Haboobs? Volcano lightning? Keep your hat on, the sky isn't falling just yet.

A haboob advancing over Khartoum, Sudan, April 2007.     Photo: STR/Getty

WHAT: A roiling wall of sand and dust up to a mile high and moving at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

WHERE: Mainly in North Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and the U.S. Southwest.

HOW: As a thunderstorm dies, dry downdrafts up to 100 mph hurtle loose sand and dust
into the air.

SUPERFREAKS: In January 2013, Australian tugboat workers near the coastal town of Onslow snapped cell-phone photos of a Creamsicle-colored haboob, a 50-mph orange monster that merged with a billowing white shelf cloud and swept over the Indian Ocean at sunset.

THE FORECAST: “Most studies indicate drier conditions in the Southwest over the coming decades,” says Arizona State University geographical sciences professor Randy Cerveny. “That would likely mean drier thunderstorms and more haboobs.”

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Comments