We’ve been seeing quite a few images and video clips in the news from Tuesday evening’s sand and dust storm that struck the Phoenix, Arizona area in the past 24 hours and while that exact scenario isn’t likley to affect southeastern Minnesota or northern Iowa anytime soon, the magnitude of the winds in the storm is something we have experienced recently. The event in Phoenix is technically known as a haboob, which is arabic for “strong wind” and involves strong outflow from a collapsing thunderstorm kicking up a huge dust storm in the desert. Here’s an interesting article about Tuesday’s event that also explains how haboobs develop. The wind speeds measured in the haboob were around 70 miles per hour, similar to the strength of the gusts we experienced last Friday night when a potent squall line of severe thunderstorm activity rumbled through Minnesota and Iowa, including a large portion of our local area, toppling small trees and causing some damage, the worst of which was just west of our area. Our damaging winds formed in a storm complex that developed ahead of a weak cold front that was pushing through the Upper Mississippi Valley, so there were similarities but also slight differences in the way the Minnesota and Arizona storms formed. Here’s some more on the Tuesday’s event in the desert southwest.
Here’s a good view of the event from a Phoenix TV station’s helicopter from YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jELcPNyddc
Posted under weather
This post was written by tschmidt on July 6, 2011