Haboob Near Phoenix, Arizona
July 25, 2012
Photographer: Saija Lehtonen
Summary Author: Saija Lehtonen; Jim Foster
The photo above shows a giant haboob ready to engulf Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. I was on my way to shoot what I hoped would be a colorful sunset, but my plans were abruptly changed when I saw this dust storm approach. Haboobs are walls of dust that typically form from the outflow (downdrafts) produced by strong thunderstorms in semiarid and arid regions of the world. Winds can whip to 60 mph (97 km/h) in these events and visibility may drop to zero (less than 330 ft or 100 m), leaving huge areas cloaked in dust, sand and mud after the haboob passes. In the southwestern U.S., haboobs have a propensity to occur during the summer months sometimes in association with monsoon thunderstorms. Photo taken on July 21, 2012.