A haboob is a wall of dust that can stand hundreds or even thousands of feet high. It is the result of high winds that blow down and agitate sand and dust, which causes the debris to blow up into a tall stacked wall. An average time span of a haboob generally ranges from 10 to 30 minutes. Haboobs typically occur in dry areas, particularly the Middle East, the Sahara, North Africa and the US state of Arizona, where there are large amounts of sand and high temperatures. These dust walls can be dangerous if they are tall enough to cause issues with visibility, particularly if it affects ground and air transportation.
More about dust storms:
- The word "haboob" comes from habb, which is an Arab word meaning "blow" or "wind."
- Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, experiences an average of one to three dust storms each year. From 2003 to 2013, more than 100 dust storms were reported in the state.
- According to Greek legend, the army of Persian ruler Cambyses II was buried by a dust storm during the sixth century B.C. after the 50,000-man army conquered Egypt.