It looked like scenes out of the film “The Mummy” in the Phoenix area on Saturday and Sunday as giant walls of dust rolled through the region.
The intense dust storms, known as haboobs, were triggered by monsoon-season thunderstorms that pummeled the area. According to the Arizona Republic, the storms left more than 30,000 people without power over the weekend.
There were no reports of serious storm-related injuries.
On Saturday, KTAR.com reported that the Phoenix area was experiencing its first significant dust storm of the summer.
Netizens documented the blustery experience:
#AZ #haboob crazy views! pic.twitter.com/HbUJU7zEhe
— tina kish (@undergrad01) June 28, 2015
Arizona is no stranger to haboobs. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, between one and three of them will engulf the Phoenix area during any given year.
Haboobs are defined as “very strong dust and sand storms that move through hot and dry regions.”
Just how do haboobs form? When air is forced down and pushed forward by the front of a traveling thunderstorm cell, it drags with it dust and debris. Winds of speeds up to 60 mph can stir up dust and sand and create a blowing wall as high as 10,000 feet.
Haboobs also occur in other arid regions such as parts of California, the Sahara Desert, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.