PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It was 10 years ago when one of the biggest dust storms on record hit Phoenix. It was on July 5, 2011, when the storm piled dust a mile high into the sky and stretched nearly across the entire width of the state. That's when a young storm chaser named Mike Olbinski got word of the storm that would change his life. "So I was practicing the time-lapse in the backyard and someone texted me and said there's a big dust storm coming from San Tan (Valley). I knew right where to go because I had scouted out the spot a few weeks ago," he said.
Olbinski set up his gear on a downtown parking garage and watched the monster overtake the city. "I just literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean, it was still coming over South Mountain as it kept getting closer and closer. I was just astounded," he said.
The dust storm went viral and Olbinski's phone started ringing nonstop. "When I was watching that and I saw the dust rolling across, the first word that came to my mind was this is a haboob if I've ever seen one," he said. "So when I posted that video, I said, 'Massive haboob hits Phoenix.' And since it went viral, that word was mainstream on the nightly news."
His passion continued to grow and Olbinski has become one of the top storm chasers not only in Arizona, but in the country. "I like to share weather with the world and with people so that was like an amazing moment and it put me on the path I'm still on today," said Olbinski.