Thursday, October 20, 2011

Attack of the Haboob

Some of you may have seen this on the national news the other day, but I'm sure some of you, especially my friends in other countries, didn't.  I didn't, and I was here for it.  And have the pictures to prove it.

Lubbock got hit by a haboob on Monday.  For those of you who don't know what a haboob is, and until Monday, I was one of them, a haboob is a meteorological term.  It derives from Arabic and basically means "dust cloud."  Those of you who live in the desert have probably seen something like this before.

This was one of the worst in decades.  It was brought about by winds from a strong cold front in an area with extreme drought conditions.  Winds speeds were at least 74 miles per hour.

My son and I had gone to eat because my wife was still recovering from her bout with the stomach plague. I'd noticed dust off to the northwest, but the wind had been blowing strong all day and mild dust storms aren't uncommon here.  I think the sky was brown in June almost as much as it was blue.  Anyway, I was more concerned with paying attention to traffic rather than the sky at that hour of the day.

When we got to the place we were going to eat, I got out of the car, looked to the northeast, and here's what I saw: 
The view to the west a minute or so after I took that picture looked like this:

By this time, the wind was picking up (that's a relative term, it was already blowing hard.)  When I turned back to the northeast, this is what it looked like:

Those are the same houses whose tops are visible at the bottom of the first picture.

Needless to say, we hurried inside.  Within a minute, it was dark.  I mean, streetlights are on, visibilities is on the order of meters, not tens of meters, meters. 

Here's the last photo I took:

The shrubs are on the far side of a six lane street.  When visibility was at its worst, I couldn't see shrubs.  The only lights visible on the far side of the street were the street lights along the road, and they were just dim glows.

This isn't typical weather.  If these photos remind you of the Dust Bowl, they should.  Similar conditions existed then. 

To see more of the attack of the haboob, here's a YouTube video:


  1. It was wild, but it was over in about half an hour to an hour. There were some power outages and tree limbs down. I'm not aware of anyone being injured, other than dirt in the eyes. And in the mouth; you could taste the dirt in the air. I hope the air didn't violate federal clean soil standards.

    It's clear, chilly, and calm this morning.