Arizona Dust Storm was "Exceptional" Because of Dry Weather in Southeast Portion of State

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Image: YouTube

An ongoing drought in the southeastern part of Arizona, which has seen little rainfall in recent months, made last night's dust storm "exceptional," an official with the National Weather Service says.

"This came from a thunderstorm complex not far from Tucson," says Phoenix NWS meteorologist Ken Waters. "That area hasn't had a lot of rain for some months now."

As we mentioned in last night's post, the wall of dust that hit the Valley at roughly 7:30 p.m. was, well, extra-dusty. Internet users and news watchers around the world heard of the haboob as pictures and videos of the event went viral. If you're hungry for more dust-storm footage, check out our collection of pictures and videos.

"The magnitude was the main thing," Waters adds. "This really was extreme. The height was 5,000 to 8,000 feet above ground level, and ran from about 150 miles to 200 miles. It was a pretty amazing event."

The storm's wind gusted up to 60 miles per hour.

We were surprised to find out from Michael Murphy, spokesman for the Maricopa Medical Center, that asthma patients or other people with respiratory problems weren't flooding into the county hospital's ER. But that's not to say the hospital didn't have some dust-related problems.

"They were bringing in blowers and passing out masks in the pediatric ER," Murphy says. "There was dust everywhere."

Murphy also says some people may not experience a medical problem because of the dust until weeks from now -- there are bound to be Valley Fever spores kicked up by the storm.

A trending YouTube video gives another great impression of the scale of the thing.

Much of the dust didn't blow away, of course: It's caked onto vehicles and piled up on porches. We called a few pool-maintenance places, but none answered -- too busy, no doubt.

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Candace Melon
Candace Melon

Summer is upon us here in Arizona and I'd like to add a word to the wise and those like me who were not so wise.  In the spirit of being eco friendly and taking charge, I switched from a 'billed' customer to the SRP M-Card.  Thinking I would take control of how much energy I used and the cost.  I was thrilled to see that I cut my useage 30%, but shocked to see in doing so, I was actually paying SRP 49% more for electricity.  I called around to several people and started comparing notes, including to a few reporters and discovered that SRP is well aware of this.  While they will tell you that you aren't paying more in total because they must add all the taxes and transfer and federal charges to your per kilowat charge, you're not paying more.  However, after researching this I am in fact paying 49% more per kilowatt use than the average "billed" customer.  First, M-Power customers do not get off-peak rates and second factoring in all the surcharges I'm still paying much higher rates.  In other words, M-Power customers are getting gouged by SRP for paying up front for their electricity and for being eco friendly.  I'm going back to monthly billing.  I believe I can be eco friendly without being ripped off by SRP.  Hopefully many more like me will also do so.  There is no discount or benefit to M-Power, it's a huge profit center rip off.


Get a reporter to Tent City. I predict there were a number of injuries last night and there will beplenty additional lawsuits and settlements with people who are held prior totrial in their cases and later acquitted (thus innocent) who have lacerations,COPD, Valley Fever, etc. etc.  More wasteof taxpayers money by Sheriff Joke because he just HAS to show off rather thando his job (which is taking care of the inmates in his charge NOT exposing themto dangerous dust storms). 

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