Thunderstorms near Phoenix Monday night sparked an incredible dust storm called a "haboob".  The definition of a "haboob" is looser than you might expect.  There's no maximum wind speed requirement or minimum visibility that has to be achieved.  

 

Here the outflow from a strong thunderstorm kicked up dust that climbed higher into the air. These haboobs drop visibility very quickly, so they can become dangerous to drivers. 

 

The Phoenix airport recorded a 71 mph wind gust as this storm moved through, and the temperature dropped nearly 30 degrees in less than an hour!  On average the state of Arizona sees 1 to 3 haboobs in a year, so they are unusual but not terribly rare. 


The area has been experiencing monsoon conditions for days with more than one of these dust storms resulting. 

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-Hannah Strong

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