You thought they only happened in the deserts of the Middle East?
Actually, they can happen just about anywhere with the right ingredients!
What is a Haboob?
A haboob is a type of sand or dust storm. The sand or dust typically moves in as a wall, reaching heights of more than a thousand feet and dropping visibility to almost zero. It occurs in dry weather along the leading edge of powerful winds. Those winds can originate from thunderstorm outflow, or larger scale atmospheric forcing like a dryline or front.
But where does the word come from? Actually, that does come from the Middle East.
Haboob comes from the Arabic word habb, which means “to blow.” The whole word came as a description for the sand and dust storms in Sudan.
That part of the world sees a couple dozen of these storms every year.
But it’s not just Sudan. Haboobs occur in the Middle East, Sahara Desert, Australia, the Southwestern U.S., Mexico, and infrequently in other regions around the world.
Salt Lake Haboob
Our most recent example of one of these in the U.S. comes out of Salt Lake City Utah on Friday, October 20th.
The leading edge of a powerful front moved through the Salt Lake metro Friday afternoon. Recent dry weather in the region, meant there was a lot of dust on the ground. As the strong line of wind pushed into the area, all of that dust was lifted high up into the atmosphere.
Wind gusts at the time of the event were between 55 and 60 miles per hour.
Wow. Watch as a #haboob rolls through Salt Lake City, Utah, a moment captured on camera from a building near downtown.
Posted by WeatherNation on Friday, October 20, 2017
For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo