The top of our neighborhood is a great place to view the impressive dust storms that roll into the Phoenix metro area a few times during each monsoon season. My view is to the south, across Papago Park towards South Mountain. This is the direction the storms often come from, the result of a tall cumulous cloud collapsing in a down-draft blast that kicks up agricultural and desert soils in a shock wave of granular murk. They move fast and arrive with a gust of hot wind and chemical-laden grit. I walked up to Oak street to watch this one come in. (Click on each photo to enlarge. All photos A.Shock).
Here’s what the sky to the south looked like pre-haboob. You can just see the brown glow of the dust cloud low to the left of center, a dirt-colored sliver of sky between the two houses, behind the utility pole. The rest are local gray storm clouds. The low sun is the bright glare on the right:
It only took a few minutes for the javelina-brown snout of the haboob (previous snout here) to reach the metro area. In the photo below, it’s engulfing Sky Harbor airport:
The photo above is looking southwest. The front of the dust cloud stretched to the east as well. Here’s looking towards the east valley just as the edge of the storm reached our neighborhood:
The gray thunderstorm above the dust cloud was biding its time. It brought some ominous cloud-forms along for the ride. If the front edge of the dust is the snout of the Heavenly Javelina, these clouds were hanging down like her teats:
Our part of town was fortunate: just a blast of gritty wind, a smattering of raindrops, some window-rattling lightning, and it was over in half an hour. Other neighborhoods weren’t so lucky: stronger winds downed trees, there were flooded roads, and some lightning strikes that crisped a tree or two.