June 17, 2007

damn! sand storms are really huge!

it's a sand storm that occurred in al asad amarican air base in iraq on april 26th 2005, I'm sure it will remind many of you of the movie the mummy, except this one is for real, a giant moving wall of sand.

amazing & intimidating series of pictures, then a video of nature showing men they really are ... nothing!
just a remark to those who would think that would be mortal, in fact it's not, everybody was safe after it passed & people in sahara are used to sand storms. if you're not convinced, I think you will after watching the video, you'll see no one was screaming as if it was a volcano or a tsunami lol ... though, if you drive your car during such a phenomenon, it's easy to imagine you can't go far ...
below, is a picture of a similar storm that happened in khartoum capital of sudan on may 2007
the phenomenon is called "haboob", checkout what wikipedia is saying about it:
A haboob is a type of intense sand storm commonly observed the Sahara desert (typically Sudan), as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq. African haboobs result from the northward summer shift of the intertropical front into North Africa, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Guinea. Haboob winds in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Kuwait are frequently created by the collapse of a thunderstorm. During thunderstorm formation, winds will move opposite the direction of the storm's travel, and they will move from all directions into the thunderstorm. When the storm collapses and begins to release precipitation, wind directions will reverse, gusting outward from the storm and generally gusting the strongest in the direction of the storm's travel.

When this downdraft, or "downburst", reaches the ground, dry, loose sand from the desert settings is essentially blown up creating a wall of sediment preceding the storm cloud. This wall of sand can be up to 100 km (62 miles) wide and several Kilometers in elevation. At their strongest, haboob winds can travel at 35-50 km/h, and they may approach with little to no warning. Often rain is not seen at the ground level as it evaporates in the hot, dry air (phenomenon known as virga), though on occasion when the rain does persist the precipitation can contain a considerable quantity of dust (severe cases called "mud storms"). Eye and respiratory system protection are advisable for anyone who must be outside during a haboob - moving to a place of shelter is highly desirable during a strong event.

Across north Africa and the near East, there are many regional names for this unique sand storm. The word haboob comes from the Arabic word هبوب "strong wind or 'phenomenon'." Occasionally, you will heard the word "haboob" used to describe a dust storm in the desert Southwest of the United States. That is an incorrect use of the term.

and to finish, below is an experiment I did with one of the pictures, I hope you like :p