Encore - Haboob Near Phoenix, Arizona

March 17, 2018


Today and every Saturday Earth Science Picture of the Day invites you to rediscover favorites from the past. Saturday posts feature an EPOD that was chosen by viewers like you in our monthly Viewers' Choice polls. Join us as we look back at these intriguing and captivating images.

Photographer: Saija Lehtonen 
Summary Authors: Saija Lehtonen; Jim Foster

July 2012 Viewer's Choice 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 approaching. 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.