Phoenix haboob: Like something out of a doomsday movie, a “haboob” dust storm moved through Arizona on Monday, blanketing Phoenix under a wall of dust and sand, sending residents indoors to ride out the fast moving storm, reports Weather.com on Aug.26.
A photo blog on NBCnews.com carried pictures of this weather phenomenon, which produced winds up to 60 mph and reduced visibility to only meters in some parts of the city.
No injuries were reported, and other than a few uprooted trees, there was relatively little damage, just a whole bunch of dirty windows and cars ready for a washing. Flights in and out of Phoenix were temporarily grounded.
The strangely-named “haboob” weather pattern, derived from the Arabic word for "wind," is formed when air is forced downward and pushed forward by the front of a thunderstorm cell. The microburst or downburst of moving, hot air picks up sand, dirt and debris as it moves across the terrain.
Haboobs are common during the dry summer months in Phoenix. According to the National Weather Service, Phoenix experiences on average about 3 haboobs per year during the months of June through September.