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What Is A Haboob?

August 27, 2014 Hastings and Hastings

What Is A Haboob?

This is a common question that is asked by those new to the southwest desert that are unfamiliar with the region’s unique climate. In short, a haboob is a type of dust storm that is often fast developing and intense. They are typically found in arid regions and can cause disruption in normal daily activity for many people. For example, when a haboob is present airlines have been known to cease operation, and driving a car can become difficult to impossible.

Move Swiftly Through A Region

In the simplest terms, a haboob is the result of a large volume of cold air that creates a down burst or downdraft. When this large volume of air reaches the ground it causes dirt, clay and loose silt to quickly rise creating a massive wall of dust. These giant dust storms can range in size from just a few miles to up to 60 miles wide. Their elevation can be quite impressive with some reaching over a mile in altitude. Often occurring with little to no warning, a haboob can move swiftly through a region reaching speeds of up to 60 mph.

Traveling By Car

From closing airports to causing serious traffic problems, these powerful and destructive dust storms can have a big impact on a region. Those traveling by car, motorcycle or truck and even pedestrians should be cautious when one of these unsuspecting storms approaches. Many automobile accidents have occurred as a result of a sudden haboob. In fact, because visibility is so greatly reduced, the chances of a vehicular accident rise dramatically.

Visibility Approaches Near Zero

One of the best ways to avoid being involved in some type of accident or becoming injured when a haboob occurs is to stop driving or move indoors as quickly as possible. Pulling over to a safe location until the storm passes is typically the best option for drivers. In addition to being involved in a vehicular accident, pedestrians can also easily be struck by a vehicle when visibility approaches near zero. Taking precautions, being safe and avoiding accidents is best achieved by avoiding travel when storms are present. Many people are injured each year when a haboob appears out of nowhere. Contact Hastings and Hastings if you have been injured in a vehicular accident that is the result of someone else’s negligence.