Dust storm reduces visibility in Phoenix to less than 100 metres; causes power outage

By @vitthernandez on
Dust Storm
A pedestrian crosses Central Avenue during a dust storm in Phoenix, Arizona August 18, 2011. Reuters/Joshua Lott

A haboob, or winds of more than 100khh, created dust storms in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, reducing visibility is some areas to less than 100 metres. The haboob winds are often the harbinger of stormy, wet weather.

The haboob that hit Phoenix is part of the same weather system that caused floods in California late last week, said Quincy Vagell, meteorologist of Weather.com. He explains the dust storm to the southerly flow that brought warm, moist air in the area which created an unstable environment.

It resulted to the development of a haboob which pushed a wall of dust and sand toward Phoenix, reports Stuff.co.nz.

The haboob also destroyed electricity lines and caused power outage to about 3,800 homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It also brought lightning that hit a hotel and an apartment in the area of 85th Avenue and McDowell Road, ABC reports.

According to a 911 caller, there are flames on the roof of the two-storey apartment complex hit by the lightning. But the small fire was doused quickly by firefighters, and no one was hurt.

KPHO reports that the dust storm, which followed a monsoon-like storm on Friday, and showers and thunderstorms on Saturday, was caused by a low pressure system. The unsettled weather would continue into the first half of the week due to a series of low pressure systems that will pass through the region.

A low pressure system moving through the Pacific Northwest will sag southeastward towards Arizona on Monday. That means higher chances of shower and storms through Wednesday. Dust storms are not new to Arizona residents. The most recent, besides this one, was in August 2011.

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