What are Sandstorms?

A sandstorm, dust storm, or haboob is mostly used when talking about a desert storm.  When a huge gust front or strong wind comes through, it picks up the loose sand and distributes it elsewhere, this is called saltation and suspension.

Differences

Dust storm with military vehicles in the foreground

Dust storm during Operation Iraqi Freedom

The difference between the sandstorm, dust storm and haboob must do with wind strength and area covered.

Parts of sand carried by strong winds is a sandstorm.  They are mostly from the surface to 10-15 ft. above ground.  Sand has larger particles than dust.

In a dust storm, it covers a lot more area.  Although dust particles are smaller, that means it more severe.

A haboob is a type of monsoonal dust storm.  It can reach over 5,00 feet, have wind gusts of 30-60 MPH, be as wide as 30-100 miles and travel as far as 100-200 miles.  When a newscaster tells you, there is a haboob headed for you, don’t argue.  Take the right precautions.

Where are the areas more prone?

Rub a Khali desert

Rub a Khali desert

In dry areas such as The Sahara Desert, Iraq, even in the US in Phoenix, Texas and other locations where it is very dry, sandstorms can happen.   The movie, “Hildago”, they experience a sandstorm of great magnitude, known as a haboob.  With some other places in the states, they might just have a dust storm.   Haboob’s and sandstorms can happen, even in the United States.

Be prepared, if you live in areas prone to these storms.

Look around you

Camel in a desertSometimes living in an area prone to sandstorms, we should look towards the animals.  Their survival instincts kick in and they know how to survive.  The camel has long eyelashes to keep the sand away from the eyes and can shut their nostrils.  The Emu also has long eyelashes.  Some animals bury themselves in the sand or find some sort of cover.

We can learn a lot from those who have survived and lived in these areas.  Look to them for guidance.

Here is a cool story that I found about a sandstorm in Arizona.

 

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