Wednesday, July 6, 2011

End of the world? No, just the start of Arizona's monsoon season as massive dust storm rolls in from the desert and engulfs Phoenix


Apocalyptic: The giant dust storm engulfs Phoenix, Arizona, and appears to be causing fires and destruction in its path. But it is merely the reflection of street lights - the storm is little more than an inconvenience

After the floods, tornadoes, wildfires and crippling blizzards that have ravaged the U.S. this year, an enormous wave of dust rolling in and erasing an entire city would not have been a welcome sight.

But the massive dust storm - as awesome and apocalyptic as it looks - proved little more than an inconvenience to the residents of Phoenix, Arizona, as it bore down upon them yesterday afternoon.

The dust storm, or 'habub' as it is often known, is a regular feature of the U.S. state's 'monsoon' season, which lasts until the end of September.

Dwarfed by nature: The high-rise buildings of the city are humbled by the massive dust storm, which is a regular feature of Arizona's monsoon season from now until the end of September. Even so, this is a larger-than-normal storm

Awesome sight: The storm, also known as a habub, brings choking dust and strong winds along with it. Tuesday's storm grounded flights in and out of the area, brought down trees and cut power to thousands of residents and businesses

Thick clouds of dust, borne on strong winds, reduce visibility and ground flights in the area, but do little more damage than causing a clean-up headache for local residents.

Tuesday evening's storm delayed flights in and out of Sky Harbor and Deer Valley airports, while high winds toppled trees and caused power cuts to thousands of homes and businesses in the valley.

A wall of dust that towered over skyscrapers downtown swept across the desert from the south, and local news stations reported that it appeared to be up to 50 miles wide in some spots. The dust cloud briefly blanketed downtown Phoenix at around nightfall.

Low visibility: Despite it being early evening in Phoenix, the thick blanket of dust darkens the landscape and forces drivers to be extra cautious

coping well: Phoenix residents walk through the the dust storm on their way home from a sporting event, while Mary Nichols and JoAnn Buckson brave the strong winds

Not letting the storm get in the way: Customers at a local Starbucks cafe continue as if nothing is out of the ordinary (although they have the good sense to keep their drinks covered)

Waiting game: Jason Wallace wears a face mask and plays with his phone as he sits with his wife Emily Wallace inside Sky Harbor International Airport during the storm. Flights were grounded for more than an hour until the storm dissipated

The National Weather Service says strong winds with gusts of more than 60mph rapidly moved the dust cloud northwest through Phoenix and the cities of Avondale, Tempe and Scottsdale. More than a dozen communities in the area also were placed under a severe thunderstorm watch until 11pm.

More than 8,000 residents were left without power, although most had power restored by later that evening.

The Arizona Republic reported winds also downed live wires in Tempe that sparked a fire at a busy intersection, but firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that because of low visibility in the area, no Phoenix-bound flights were allowed to leave Las Vegas or Los Angeles airports until 9pm, and flights at the airport were grounded for about an hour.

Phoenix Dust Storm Timelapse July 5, 2011

The Phoenix Haboob of July 5th, 2011 from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

source: dailymail

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