Haboob The Biggest Dust Storm You Will Ever See
If you live or are traveling through Arizona or another desert of the world, you should know that giant dust storms happen. If you have never lived through one you may not be aware that they happen, or what to do when you find yourself caught in one.
In 7 years that we have lived in Arizona I have only seen one, it was in the month of August 3 or 4 years back. I have to say it was one of the scariest things I had ever seen, despite being at home with my husband Harvey and our 7-year-old grandson when it hit.
The skies turned into a bright orange cloud of dust, that totally engulfed the house with dust so thick that we could not see through it. Because the haboob hit us during the day I am guessing that the color was from the sun trying to shine through.
The whole thing made me think of the bible story of the 10 plagues, and how it might have felt to those living at that time, it was very unreal and frightening. Actually, I was thinking Armageddon, Armageddon, Oh My…. lol…
I don’t remember how long it lasted, but I do know it was long enough… 30 minutes or so.
How To Survive A Giant Dust Storm
For us being at home when it hit we didn’t really need anything that we did not have, but I guess if it had lingered we may have been able to come up with a list of needs.
Most Important Things To Do At Home
Probably the most important thing to do at home would be putting away things that could get blown around. It is often suggested that when Monsoon season is near that we clean up our yards and secure our tools and other things that the wind could pick up and blow around.
Before there is a chance of a Haboob, preparing your yard for the coming windstorms would be a smart use of our time.
Close all doors and windows and turn off air conditioner to keep dust and debris from being sucked into the unit, this may be the hardest thing to do in a desert environment, but is going to help protect your investment.
Surviving A Haboob While Driving
For many being at home when the Haboob hits is not an option, so being prepared will make surviving while driving, or even making it through comfortably more likely.
A Haboob can bring visibility down to zero, Do Not Drive Through A Haboob, pull off the road as far as you can, turn your engine off, and keep the lights off, if another driver sees your lights from a distance they may assume that you are on the road driving and crash into your parked car before they realize that you are parked.
Running your car engine or air conditioner, in a dust storm could clog up important engine parts, that might keep your car from running when the storm passes.
- Always carry bottled water inside the vehicle, you don’t want to have to get it from the trunk.
- Keep a blanket inside the vehicle, for cool weather, and it might be useful for other things.
- Airtight goggles and a dust or particulate mask would be helpful especially if you have to leave the vehicle.
- Some other things you might consider; Non-perishable snacks, a snack might make it easier to wait it out, especially if you have kids.
While On a Long Hike or Camping
Being outdoors when a Haboob hits would be the hardest way to experience a Haboob. If we hike or camp in the desert we need to prepare for the worse case scenario.
For me just going out for a walk makes owning a dust mask, or carrying a thick cloth to cover my nose and mouth necessary. It is very unpleasant to try to get in a good walk when there is dust hitting you in the face or being sucked in your lungs, and you never know when the winds will come, or when farmer will stir the dirt and dust up.
If you can get out of the storm or get under cover do so as quickly as possible.
Some things to carry when walking, hiking or camping in a desert area during monsoon season.
- Airtight goggles, dust mask, windbreaker with hood, long pants, blanket, water & snacks
- You can also check the weather report before going on an outdoor adventure, and pack accordingly.
I hope you never experience a dust storm while outdoors, but if can be easier to take if you prepare.