As the Dust Blows In

This towering cloud of dust is known as a haboob, and while it appears apocalyptic, it is a relatively common occurrence in parts of the world, including the U.S. southwest and the Middle East. Haboobs often form when a collapsing thunderstorm releases a downburst of cold air. That wind picks up loose dust along the ground and creates a wall of sediment that may be as much as 100 kilometers wide and several kilometers tall. Inside the haboob, winds can reach speeds as high as 100 kph and visibility can be reduced to nearly zero. Because of this, the storms can be quite dangerous, especially to anyone who attempts to drive during one. (Image credit: D. Bryant)

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