Local News

Giant Texas Haboob Sends Wall of Dust Through Lubbock

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On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at approximately 6 p.m., Lubbock, Texas, was hit by a wall of dust. Known as a haboob, this intense dust storm was generated by severe thunderstorms to the west. The winds from these storms displaced the dry dust on the ground’s surface and pushed it toward the city.

Carried on this weather front, the wall of dust in a haboob can be over 60 miles in width and several miles in height. They can also approach a city, such as Lubbock, with little-to-no warning. According to online sources, these types of storms are known to occur in arid and semiarid regions, and the most common parts of the U.S. which experience them are the Arizona deserts, New Mexico, eastern California, and parts of the Lone Star State. In preparation for such an occurrence (which is difficult without advanced notification), eye and respiratory system protection are recommended. Moving quickly to shelter is also advisable. Video of yesterday’s haboob in Lubbock was captured by NWSLubbock and is available for viewing below.

Video: YouTube/NWSLubbock

Winds from the storm front that generates the haboob begin to gust outward in a stronger capacity than the original thunderstorms that started it. A cold air downdraft (also known as a downburst) hits the ground, displacing loose dust, silt, and clay. Those particles are then pulled up into the air and pushed forward by the strong winds, creating a wall of dust which precedes the thunderstorms themselves. A great collection of haboob pictures and video are available at EarthSky.org, which also describes the event in great detail. Watching the wall move toward a West Texas city would be fairly mesmerizing if you weren’t caught up in it yourself. Wind gusts of 61 miles per hour were reported by the National Weather Service, which also stated that zero visibility was experienced in parts of Lubbock.