What Is A Haboob?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - A Haboob is a very strong dust storm that moves through hot and dry regions, including the Desert Southwest. With wind speeds up to 50 mph, they form from strong downdrafts in nearby thunderstorms. The winds pick up dust and sand and can make a wall of blowing sand as high as 3,000 feet.

Along somewhat similar lines are "sirocco" winds, which is a hot wind that blows north-to-northeast across the Sahara Desert.

As it blows across the Mediterranean Sea, it picks up moisture, and then plows into southern Europe as a hot and humid flow. It can bring triple-digit heat with uncomfortable humidity to areas such as Italy and southern France. It can also bring a lot of dust.

Not to be outdone are "williwaw" winds, which are violent winds that come off mountainous coastal terrains and can destroy sailing ships along the coastline.

For More Information:

Photos of Haboob -- www.atmo.ttu.edu

Sirocco -- mediatheek.thinkquest.nl

Haboob -- mediatheek.thinkquest.nl

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