'Holy mother of haboob Batman!' Storm chaser gets incredible footage of massive dust storm
The monsoon season is in full swing in the Desert Southwest, and with it comes severe thunderstorms and, in Monday's case, a rather intense "haboob" -- or wind-driven dust storm.
Noted monsoon storm chaser Mike Olbinski was out with other storm chasers as the storms raged in Phoenix.
It then created a massive wall of dust that spread out across much of the rest of the state.
"Probably one of the top two haboobs I've ever chased," Olbinski tweeted.
Phoenix caught the brunt of the thunderstorms. As the torrential rains fall, they create an intense downdraft that hits the ground then spreads out across the desert at break-neck speeds. Wind gusts at Sky Harbor Airport registered as high as 71 mph!
As those winds spread out into the desert, it picks up the dust and dirt from the barren landscape, creating a massive orange-brown wall of dust that spreads miles across and several thousand feet high!
Here's a compilation of Olbinski's day chasing the wall of dust:
Inside the haboob, there is blistering sand and dust as visibility can drop to zero. Look what happened when it reached Olbinski in Yuma!
Winds were clocked at 51 mph there! The radar image shows how extensive the dust cloud reached:
The monsoon season lasts into early September. It's caused when tropical moisture from the warm Pacific Ocean waters off Mexico and the Gulf of California gets pulled north into the Desert Southwest.
It may provide some relief from triple digit temperatures, but then also makes it rather muggy with still fairly hot temperatures. In addition to the dust storms, the monsoon thunderstorms are known for their towering cumulonimbus clouds and spectacular lightning.
Olbinski says he spent 600 miles chasing the dust storms Monday with his two kids along for the ride -- what an experience!