Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spectacular Photos of Haboob in Phoenix Yesterday Evening...

A dense, widespread haboob (fancy name for dust storm) took place in the Phoenix area yesterday evening.  Numerous (and many spectacular) photos of the phenomenon circulated throughout social media:

Jerry Ferguson (via twitter)

Rob Schumacher (via twitter)

Brian Pivar (via twitter)

Jeff Piotrowski (via twitter)

If you look closely at the last 2 photos, you can also see a slight "curl" in the flow along the left side of the dust plume.  That suggests downward air motion associated with a microburst or downburst at that particular location.

On the 2nd photo (from the top) you can see an airplane that had just taken off from Sky Harbor Airport ahead of the oncoming deluge (it was reportedly the last flight to depart prior to the arrival of the dust storm).

The sudden reduction of visibility and strong winds resulted in a 1 hour or more "holding pattern" above the airport for a time yesterday evening:

...during which time several flights decided to divert to Tucson or other nearby airports.

Strong wind gusts of 45-50 mph pushed the wall of dust from South to North through the region.  The following chart from the Phoenix Airport shows a peak wind gust near 50 mph just before 7:00 PM local time yesterday: 

Haboobs/dust storms are not necessarily uncommon in the area, especially with dry weather and strong, gusty winds there is plenty of "fuel" for the fire once things get going on a hot summer afternoon.

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