Weather Blog

Massive thunderstorms knock out power, create dust storms near Spokane

Massive thunderstorms knock out power, create dust storms near Spokane
Haboob / dust storm rolls through about 5 miles south of Ritzville on N. Marcellus Rd. on Aug. 25, 2013. (Photo courtesy: Steve Meye via Spokane News)

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A large line of thunderstorms created quite a bit of damage as they rolled through the Spokane Valley and northeastern Washington Sunday night.

Winds gusting as high as 62 mph in Spokane toppled trees, knocked out power to over 12,000, and created quite the dust storm near Ritzville.

The National Weather Service reports two mobile homes were damaged by falling trees near Grand Coulee, Wash., while emergency managers reported numerous trees were down all across southern Stevens County.

In addition to the wind, quarter-sized hail was reported near Santa, Idaho and Deer Park, Wash. reported 0.65" of rain in just 10 minutes -- or more rain than Seattle has had in its entire summer.  So far there are no reports of any injuries.

The photo above shows the dramatic "haboob" created by the 50-60 mph winds around Ritzville. Huge downdrafts from the heavy rains sometimes push out strong gusty winds out ahead of a big thunderstorms such as these.

In areas where it's been super dry, these winds will pick up the dust and dirt and turn and bring an orange/brown wall of grit across the region.

Note that "haboobs" are the term used when the wall of dust is created by thunderstorm downdrafts. Dust kicked up from a widespread wind event, such as instances when winds in Central Washington can blow for hours at 30-40+ mph from an influx of marine air following a heat wave, would be classified as general dust storms and not a "haboob."