Arizona experienced dust storms nearly 4,000 feet high on Monday evening at around 4:30 p.m.
The dust storms rolled through Pinal and Maricopa counties and caused minor airplane delays. The storms are also suspected to have played a role in a collision on Interstate 8 as well as a power outage that left 2,300 people without electricity.
The National Weather Service reported that the storms reached 10 to 20 mph and greatly reduced visibility, in some cases to 60 feet. The dust storm warning lasted until 7pm local time.
An Arizona Department of Public safety spokesperson, Bob Bailey, told The Arizona Republic that two people were critically injured in the eight car pile-up on interstate 8. The 2,300 people left without electricity had their power restored by midnight.
This dust storm, also known as a haboob in Arabic and around Arizona, was significantly smaller and caused less damage than the massive storm that hit on July 5. That storm was between 5,000 and 8,000 feet tall. It also brought with it very little rain, unlike the most recent storm which soaked the Valley.
“Trees were going, rain was hitting the windows,” said Brent Knolten of McFdadden’s at WestGate City Center, as quoted by Arizona Family. “Next thing you know, our sign flew off the building. It went out into the parking lot, in about 20 different pieces.”
Perhaps that was the benefit of this haboob. The past 6 months have been quite dry for Arizona and the rain was certainly welcomed.
Local meteorologists predict that Valley residents can expect additional thunderstorms and dust for Tuesday and Wednesday evening.