Second major dust storm whips through Phoenix metro area


by Catherine Holland

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 6:40 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 10:58 PM

PHOENIX –Two major dust storms have swept through the Phoenix metro area in slightly less than two weeks, and we could see number three Tuesday evening.

While powerful, Monday night’s wall of dust was significantly smaller than the July 5’s massive dust storm. That one made headlines all over the world.

The first storm was between 5,000 and 8,000 feet tall. Monday evening’s storm was only about 3,000 to 4,000 feet tall and not nearly as wide.

Still, the high winds were enough to make quite a mess. Damage, however, was minimal.

The storms moved in from the southeast at about 6 a.m., reducing visibility and hampering both inbound and outbound air traffic at Sky Harbor International Airport for a short time.

While the July 5 haboob brought very little rain, this storm soaked the West Valley.

“Trees were going, rain was hitting the windows,” said Brent Knolten of McFdadden’s at WestGate City Center. “Next thing you know, our sign flew off the building. It went out into the parking lot, in about 20 different pieces.”

Nearly 1 inch of rain was recorded in the area of Glendale Avenue and Loop 101; 0.76 inch was recorded at Indian School Road and Loop 101. Sun City saw 0.35 inch while Surprise got 0.28 inch.

Those rainfall totals are fairly impressive, especially when you consider that the past six months have been extremely dry. It is, in fact, the driest six-month stretch Arizona has seen in quite some time.

According to 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke, Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening both will bring the chance of additional thunderstorms and blowing dust.