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Dust In The Wind (And Lots Of It)

In the interest of keeping up with all the cool time-lapse video that’s floating around the Internet, here’s one that’s making the rounds from yesterday, the massive dust storm — a “haboob” — that hit the Phoenix area:

Mike Olbinski shot the video, which ends abruptly just before the dust actually hits; he says in the comments that he pulled his camera inside so it wouldn’t be destroyed, and you can’t blame him.


There’s tons more video of this thing, like this one from ABC affiliate KNXV-TV that provides an explanation for the phenomenon along with a little video of the storm hitting:

And independent KTVK has Scott Wood’s video of the haboob:

Here’s one by Blaine Coury that hangs in there from another angle:

And this video from the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph shows the slow advance of the 50-mile-wide wall of dust:

There’s a lot of video of this thing all over the Internet from both pros and amateurs, and it’s all spectacular and harrowing. Before this, the largest dust devil I’d seen would have been maybe 50 feet long, maybe a little longer. 50 miles wide? I’ve been through hurricanes and earthquakes, but I don’t know how I’d react if I saw one of these things coming.

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12 comments

  • These time lapse videos are so cool. I was sitting at my computer watching videos, and at one point I glanced out the window and realized I couldn’t see the trees across the street. I went outside to check it out, and when I came back in I had a mouth full of dirt.

    My car and patio are filthy now. Yay dirt.

  • I had just cleaned the pool, layed in sun, then came in for something to drink. The wind picked up dust was everything started to get real crazy like chairs being picked straight up and thrown across yard I couldn’t see with sand in eyes. But it was cool being in pool and being able to rinse of face. Wind was everywhich way…..What a MESS in MESA!!!!

  • Thanks for posting our video! Like others have said, yes, they are a common occurrence… hence why I had half the mind to keep my camera at the ready this past week as we enter into monsoon season. However, I must say having been in a number of these things before, this was leaps and bounds more intense than any I had experienced in the past. The winds seemed stronger, the dust much, much thicker, and it stuck around quite a bit longer than normal.

    My cell phone footage does it a little more justice, as it rolled in and overtook the park I was shooting from. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx2Zzp-cGgM&

  • I am with the other native Phoenix residents. We get these dust walls at least once a year and I am surprised by its news worthiness <–obviously Phoenix centric point of view ;-) They are epically cool but definitly not a scary occurrence like a tornado or a hurricane. I actually find dust walls to be quite delightful and refreshing. As noted in other posts these usually mark the beginning of monsoon season which means really spectacular sunsets, electrical storms and other cool novelty weather.

  • The only part of this story that is annoying to native Phoenicians is that these dust storms occur every year! Now I have family from abroad asking what it was like or if it was scary. They disappointing response is that they are regular occurrences and thanks to youtube, you now get to see them minutes after they happen. I also refuse to call them a haboob. Its dust and wind and are only mildly annoying, seeing them in movies as terrifying and painful are exaggerations. Although you will get sand up your shorts and your skivvies mysteriously.

  • I drove right into it yesterday. As it overtook us, half of the road was still and sunny with barely a breeze, and then we were just engulfed in a whirlwind of black dust. We could hardly see to keep driving. It was awesome.

  • I live just outside of Phoenix and this happens every year. It’s like the official start to our monsoon season. These giant walls of dust, called Haboobs, happen in very few parts of the world. Arizona being one, the Sahara Desert being another.

    These things suck balls if you’re outside and wearing contact lenses.

  • I live in Phoenix and was out walking the dogs when the Haboob hit last night. It was an awesome sight watching lights go out and buildings disappear as the dust wall rolled through the valley.

    Luckily I live downtown and was shadowed by the wind, rain, and hail by the tall buildings. Still, everything has a coating of dust and grime on it today. Even indoors, there’s no protecting against that much dust in that much wind.