Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Dust Storm 2011"

Here is a video that shows what yesterday evening's dust storm looked like here in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area.

These dust storms are so cool. They literally look like a wall of dust moving across the city. One minute, you can see buildings and roads and people and cars; a couple of minutes later, it's all just obliterated, hidden by the great moving wall. They are huge -- I heard this one stretched 30 to 50 miles long (depending on who was reporting), and was approximately a mile tall. They move fast. This one moved across the Phoenix metropolitan area in about an hour.

There were some very cool videos taken from news station-owned airplanes and helicopters, and shown on CNN and other networks -- if you saw them, I'm sure you were impressed, but I didn't want to violate copyright laws to post them. This was a really good "amateur" video I found, and available on YouTube to be embedded here. It really captures how quickly day turns to night, how fast it goes from "beautiful evening" to "holy cow, I can't see more than 10 feet in front of me!"

They grounded flights and refused to allow planes to land at the airport for a while last night, because you couldn't even see the control tower and there was no way to fly planes through the dust soup.

I went to the post office yesterday evening - the one on Van Buren street that is open until 9:30, God bless the USPS - left my house around 7 p.m. I got lucky and found a parking spot within 20 feet of the door (never happens!). When I came out of the post office, I couldn't even see my car; there was a thick blanket of dust blocking the view of just about everything. It looks a lot like fog, actually. You can see fuzzy parking lot lights and car headlamps in the distance, and vague outlines and shapes through the "mist." It would be beautiful, really, if only you could stop feeling and hearing that "crunch" whenever you touch your teeth together.... mmm-mm, nothing else quite like eating dust while trying to breathe.

When I found my car, after walking in its general direction for a few seconds while trying not to trip over unseen objects in the parking lot, it was completely covered in dust, mixed with a little water from the rain that was just starting to fall. It looked as if someone had stolen it while I was at the post office, and had gone joy-riding off-road in the desert!

Click around on the web and find some more cool videos of the storm (and others from years past). It really is quite interesting, and yes, fun, to watch.


LOLA said...

The video gives us the tiniest inkling of what America's Dust Bowl was like during the '20s and '30s. No wonder people died from "dust pneumonia" and other respiratory problems. Thanks for posting this. I'm very interested in history.


Gaston Studio said...

I saw this on the News and it so reminded me of living in Egypt when we had huge dust storms on a fairly regular basis. Yuk!

bettyl said...

I found a few videos and they really are cool. Of course, I don't want to have to clean up after it's all gone!