Rare dust storm blows through Eastern Washington, USA

Storm drums up rare Haboob in Ritzville, Aug 12, 2014. (KREM.com)

A strong dust storm blew through Ritzville in Eastern Washington on Tuesday evening as thunderstorms developed throughout the region, bringing strong winds and abundant lightning.

The storm, known as a haboob, struck the area near Ritzville, Adams County, around 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Wind speeds at the time were between 40 and 50 mph.

Haboobs are strong dust and sand storms that are formed when air is forced down and pushed forward by the front of a traveling thunderstorm cell, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Winds stir up the dust and sand, creating a blowing wall, which can be as high as 10,000 feet.

The large dust storms are common in arid regions, such as the Sahara Desert and Arabian Peninsula, but they have also been reported in Eastern Washington in the past.


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