Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dust Storms in Phoenix

A Rather Icky Summer Ritual

After living in Phoenix for 20 years now, I find a lot to love about it. We have 6 months of glorious weather followed by 6 months were we feel like we are living near the surface-of-the-sun! 

But in the grand scheme of things we've got it pretty good.

We don't have ice storms, earthquakes, tsunami's or hurricanes. We do get microbursts, but no full on tornadoes. In reality we are spared much of natures wrath. 

But in the summer Phoenicians do have to endure dust storms.

In the past we'd see three or four big dust storms over a summer. The wall-o-dust came in and was frequently followed by some monsoon rains. Now it is not uncommon to get 2 a week and they are rarely followed by rain.

New Phoenicians try to be hip and refer to our dust storms as Haboobs, but the term Haboob actually refers to the intense sand storms found in the Sudan near Khartoum. Think "The Mummy". Likewise the massive dust and sand storms in the Sahara are referred to as Simoons. 

Arizona just gets big old garden variety dust storms. Ours are the by-product of strong pressure gradients churning up dust and light sand into clouds of particulate that can rise as high as 20,000 feet. Periods of drought intensify dust storms. Our dust storms also stir up the virus spores that result in increased incidences of  "Valley Fever".

The Dust Starts to Blow
Blue Skies Immediately Turn Brown

It is an unchallenged fact that three of the events which offer 100% certainty of triggering a dust storm involve an approaching weekend, me washing a car or cleaning my pool.

Almost immediately after one of those triggers the skies in the east over Scottsdale turn the color of golden brown toast and winds start whipping the palms.

The grit and ick follows.

My Car 25 Minutes After Any Good Summertime Car Washing.....

And then, the storms pass and we start cleaning everything up all over again....

Roadboy's Travels © 2015

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