Sunday, July 03, 2011

First Haboob of the Season

We experienced our first haboob of the season yesterday afternoon.  What is a haboob??  Here is the definition from Wikipedia:

 

A haboob is a type of intense sandstorm commonly observed in arid regions throughout the world. 

During thunderstorm formation, winds move in a direction opposite to the storm's travel, and they will move from all directions into the thunderstorm. When the storm collapses and begins to release precipitation, wind directions reverse, gusting outward from the storm and generally gusting the strongest in the direction of the storm's travel.

When this downdraft, or "downburst", reaches the ground, dry, loose sand from the desert settings is essentially blown up, creating a wall of sediment preceding the storm cloud. This wall of sand can be up to 100 km (60 miles) wide and several kilometers in elevation. At their strongest, haboob winds can travel at 35-50 km/h (20-30 mph), and they may approach with little to no warning. Often rain is not seen at the ground level as it evaporates in the hot, dry air (a phenomenon known as virga), though on occasion when the rain does persist, the precipitation can contain a considerable quantity of dust (severe cases called "mud storms"). Eye and respiratory system protection are advisable for anyone who must be outside during a haboob -- moving to a place of shelter is highly desirable during a strong event.

 

Yesterday’s storm was just a minor one.  No damage anywhere that we could see after a long hot tour around the park this morning.  There is just a lot of DIRT laying everywhere.  Thank goodness for leaf blowers as almost everyone was out using theirs to clear off their patio.  The weird part about these dust storms is how they just seem to appear out of nowhere without warning.  It can be perfectly quiet outside or just a light breeze but when you see this odd orange cloud on the horizon, you know it is coming.  It comes with a sudden blast of hot wind and tons of dirt so you can hardly see a block or two away.  We’ve had them in the past where we couldn’t even see across the street.  It doesn’t last long and within 10 minutes its gone.  Sometimes there is rain behind the dirt but not here.  Still haven’t had any rain since February.  Our desert is very very dry.

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No damage found anywhere this morning.  Just dirt in the streets.  Not a single drop of rain.

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So far this morning, all is calm and quiet….not a leaf is stirring.  I’m writing this at 8:35 a.m. and the temp is a nice cool 96 degrees.  Anything under 105 is okay.  Yesterday was really really really HOT at 116.  I would say it was dangerously hot for anyone spending any amount of time outdoors.  Don has a rather sophisticated weather station in the house that read 116 but our patio thermometer comes close.

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Arizona Ice Cream Truck

Ice Cream Truck

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