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Haboobery, indeed

The sky on Saturday night was remarkable.

Somewhere south of the Phoenix area a big storm collapsed, and the gusty winds flowing down off the top of its towering cumulus clouds blasted a well-defined edge of dust that rolled outward for miles.  It’s called a Haboob — fans of the the movie “the Mummy” will know what a Haboob looks like with a scary gaping face digitized onto it — and we get them in the desert during the Monsoon season each summer, without the evil high priest Imhotep’s face on them.

The top picture shows the very moment the storm arrived in our neighborhood. This is looking up at the leading edge of the dust cloud — that’s the peach-colored part of the sky.  The blue is the normal as yet dust-free twilight sky.  The color in these photos is neither enhanced or incorrect — this is really what it looked like for about an hour.

The next picture was shot in the thick of the dust storm, when everything was engulfed by swirling dirt.  The nearby Papago Buttes are barely visible through the murk even though they’re only two blocks away.  For contrast below is a photo of the same butte and the same mesquites next morning, looking more like themselves.

The final photo shows an infamous 2003 Haboob dramatically engulfing the Phoenix suburb of Ahwatukee.

Our little Saturday Haboob was impressive-looking on the ground here, but as far as monsoon events go, it didn’t live up to its own visual drama.  Often these storms are accompanied by destructive winds, and followed by drenching, flooding thunderstorms, but this one brought none of that, at least in our neck of the woods.  We must have been right at the edge of the storm as it breathed its last gust.

(Photos: top three: A.Shock; bottom, from Wikimedia Commons, with a thank you to the  anonymous photo sharer who generously posted it there)

Posted by Allison on Jul 20th 2009 03:13 pm | No Comments yet
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