Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dust in All the Wrong Places

One week After Haboob (A.H.): Still dusty

One week after the dust storm or haboob that engulfed Phoenix, which I totally missed since I was in a cooler, wetter, oceanside location, and even after a couple of rain showers to wash it away, there's still dust everywhere. The stuff even got inside, and I find myself wiping stuff down to get rid of the gritty feeling.

Tiny haboob dunes in my bike lane

Is that an ewok standing on that dune?

After talking with some locals who survived Haboob 2011 more or less intact, I can dispel a couple of rumors I heard: the rampaging dust cloud did not strip the paint off of cars, it didn't last for days, it didn't turn swimming pools into instant actual quick-sand (although it made a total/complete mess out of them), and it didn't wipe the city off the map. One serious side possible side effect that I did read about is a predicted increase in the incidence of Valley Fever, the fungal disease coccidioimycosis or "cocci", which can be very serious. Not much to be done to avoid it if you're here, though, except wearing a mask all the time.

The dust itself is odd, it's fine, almost powdery, but also gritty. It's like sanded sand. And it still seems like it's everywhere. Time to wipe down some more surfaces. Get up. Go ride. 



  1. My son showed me some online pics of the dust cloud approaching the city. OMG! Had to have been so completely awesome and terrifying at the same time.

  2. When I was in high school back in the 50's we lived East of El Paso, Tx and we had sand storms. That dust could get under a door that had a wet towel stuffed under it and it was just as you described it. You could not see the street from the front door.
    In the 70's I had to bypass Phoenix because of sand storms closing Sky Harbor. It wasn't for long but we didn't have fuel to hang around.
    On one occasion one of our flights that had Tucson as an alternate found PHX closed and before it could get to Tucson it closed. They declared an emergency and went into Luke Air Force base or Yuma I forget which. They bought some fuel using the Captains gas credit card which we all thought hilarious.
    I was a little spooked flying a turbine aircraft in sand because sand does not burn. At least with a piston engine I had a sort of air filter.

  3. Now your lanes look kinda like my lanes.
    Keep that chain clean.

  4. JK you have to hand it to the haboob for sheer drama, but the hail storms, winds, and flash floods do the actual damage here.

    Oldfool, this dust is not something humans or jet engines should inhale. I imagine a captain on the cabin speaker: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the right side of the aircraft, you can catch a glimpse of Armageddon..."

    limom, I feel that an investigation of the origins of your sand may be in order. Such an investigation may take several weeks, and require strenuous visits to beaches to study the scene closely.


Please feel free to comment here, almost anything goes, except for obvious spam or blatantly illegal or objectionable material. Spammers may be subject to public ridicule, scorn, or outright shaming, and the companies represented in spam shall earn disrepute and ire for each occurrence.