On Wednesday, parts of Northeast and far East El Paso got heavy rain and hail.  The day also saw record heat in El Paso. Temps got up to 106, breaking a June 8th record high of 105 set back in 1981.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
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Also, the Sun City got a full-on haboob. Yes…a HABOOB!

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Haboobs are a weather phenomenon in which thunderstorm formations force a downburst of intense wind. The downburst blows dry soil, sand, and silt…also known as dust…creating a wall that can be up to 65 miles across, and over a mile high with winds in excess of 60 mph.  In extreme cases, the haboob can cause rainfall mixed with lots of dust. The resulting rain/dust mix is called (get this) a “mud storm”.

Here’s a time-lapse video of yesterday’s haboob:

Haboobs almost always happens over the desert or very arid land masses. Not-so-fun fact: the Dustbowl era storms are now considered to have been haboobs.

Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash
Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash
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If you’ve heard the term “haboob” before, it might be because of a controversy over a decade ago. When Arizona meteorologists and TV weathermen started using the term “haboob” it caused some outcry.  Some viewers were upset about the “Muslim-sounding” word being used in the place of good ol’ American “dust storms”.

Meteorologists countered that the term “haboob” had been used by weather scientists in the U.S. for decades and that the phenomenon is much more specific than the more generic, and less localized, run-of-the-mill dust storms.

You really do learn something every day. I thought my patio furniture was knocked all over the yard by a mere gust of wind.  It turns out, I’d been HABOOBED!

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