METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Haboob is one of the more interesting words in meteorology and what it refers to is more commonly known as a dust storm. Previous weather
changes have involved the influence of the downdraft. A thunderstorm downdraft is one of the events that can create a haboob event. They
can also occur from the gusty winds behind a cold front or dryline passage. Haboobs are most likely to occur in arid and semi-arid
locations. The time before thunderstorm development can include light winds and clear weather. The gusty winds, low visibility and
blowing dust that are associated with a haboob make it a weather changer.
Locations in arid locations have soil and dirt that is not well supported by vegetation. The power of the wind to pick up dirt and dust
increases exponentially with wind speed increase. The winds from the downdraft of a thunderstorm can be very gusty. In arid locations,
the dry air can evaporate the rain within a downdraft before it reaches the surface. Thus, the downdraft reaches the ground surface as
a dry downdraft. With no rain to help remove dust from the air, the gusty winds rapidly pick up dust from the ground surface and transports
it into the air. The dust can be thick enough to significantly reduce visibility.
The dust can cause problems such as restricting travel due to low visibility, clogging air filtration devices, leaving behind a dusty layer
and making outdoor activities very uncomfortable. They can cause the weather to go from nice and sunny to dusty and windy
in the span of a few moments.