Big dust storms like this are called haboob, a quirky African word for huge wind storms. The haboob is not the same as a regular dust storm; it’s bigger and more dangerous.
“A haboob is different from an ordinary dust storm in that’s it’s generally much more ominous appearing and much more threatening,” Dr. Gill said. “A haboob is like a giant wall or front of dust that blows in often to a clear, calm sky. Sometimes it almost comes out of nowhere.”
According to David J. Passman, senior vice president and national director of the National Property Claims Strategic Outcomes Practice at Willis North America, the size and powerful wind make a haboob much more formidable.
“What differentiates a haboob from a normal dust storm is first of all the size. Haboobs have been determined to be as much as 60 miles wide, can blow at a rate of anywhere between 20 to 60 mph and have lasted up to three hours. There’s a very hard downspout of wind which then picks up sediment and other matter that is on the ground and pushes it forward on a high velocity,” Passman said. Via.
BLOWN AWAY A dust storm, known as a “haboob,” moves across Phoenix, Arizona about 6pm Thursday, dramatically reducing visibility and enveloping residents in an eerie, rust-coloured glow. It’s the third major dust storm that has hit the Phoenix metropolitan area since July 5; “microbursts” of wind, gusting up to 60 miles per hour, caused much of the area damage. (Photo: Pat Shannahan / The Arizona Republic via the AP / The Telegraph)