The dust storm that enveloped the Sonoran Desert of Arizona Monday was part of a "classic setup for severe weather" according to the National Weather Service office in Phoenix.
Widespread thunderstorm activity flared up across Maricopa and Pinal Counties in Arizona Monday, July 9. The area was already muggy and very hot before the thunderstorms evolved. Meanwhile, a strong disturbance in the higher parts of the atmosphere was approaching. Together, high winds developed and quickly moved across a wide-stretching area.
Wind gusts in isolated areas blew up to 80 miles per hour! This reduced visibility to a quarter-mile or less over a large part of the region, including portions of Interstate 8 and 10. The travel for drivers was very hazardous at the time.
The thunderstorms also produced record rainfall for Phoenix and Yuma, two usually-dry areas.
We caught up with the National Weather Service in Phoenix and spoke to Meteorologist Bianca Hernandez about the event. Listen to what she had to say below:
The National Weather Service in Phoenix wrote a summary of the event, including statistics showing there were 8,000 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and 45,000 in-cloud flashes from these storms, which you can read more about by clicking/tapping this sentence.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier