They are over 100 miles wide, over a mile high, and are regular occurrences in Phoenix, AZ. These sand storms, called Haboobs, happen in arid areas of the world, most commonly the Sahara desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Central United Stats, affecting states as diverse as Kuwait and Iraq, to Texas and New Mexico.
This video, which was recorded yesterday by Arazona’s ABC15, shows an Haboob “[rolling] through the Phoenix area on Monday, turning the sky brown, creating dangerous driving conditions and delaying some airline flights.” The video shows a helicopter travel alongside the storm front as it consumes farmland, houses, highways, and cars.
Last week NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite recorded this image of the aftermath of a similar Haboob in Phoenix. This image was recorded a day after the storm and shows the dust cloud still in the atmosphere. NASA describes the image, saying, “The lingering dust plume appears gray-beige, and the thickest dust is concentrated north-northeast of Phoenix.”
Just to show the size and scale of the storm front The Weather Channel released this time-lapse video of a Haboob approaching Phoenix.