Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Haboob Hits Eastern Washington


 Picture by Robert Ames on Hightway 12 around 7 PM Sunday.

 Haboob.  An exotic name for an exotic weather feature.   Haboobs are dramatic dust storms produced by strong winds that are generally associated with thunderstorm gust fronts or very strong cold fronts.  Early Sunday evening the characteristic wall of dust was seen over a number of locations of eastern Washington as strong outflow winds from thunderstorms pushed northward over the inland empire.

An intense line of convection was moving northeastward into eastern Washington at 7:37 PM as seen by the Spokane NWS radar.  Reds are intense rain and hail.


 Two hours later it had push northward in a line extending from Wenatchee to Spokane.

If you look carefully on the radar image you will see  a thin line preceding the main echo....that is the gust front, the leading edge of the strong winds.

Since the NWS radars have Doppler capability, we can view winds from them as well.  Here is the Doppler winds at 9:26 PM.  Remember these are the components of the wind toward or away from the radar, not the total wind.  Wow.  At least 45 knots.

 Take a look at a plot of the highest gusts for the 24 h period ending 7 PM Monday.  Virtually all the max winds occurred during the thunderstorms.  Plenty of gusts between 45 and 55 mph.  (Ignore the 159s....something is wrong at those stations).


As a sample of the strong winds, here is what happened  at Spokane's Fairchild AFB.  Strong gusts (in the 50s mph) and a wind shift to the south.  Several thousand homes lost power in areas of eastern Washington and a number of trees were toppled.

 With a dust storm going on, you would expect some deterioration in air quality, right?  Check out the measurements from the nephelometer (measures the particles in the air) at Spokane.  A very well defined spike before midnight Sunday. That's the Haboob.


Haboobs are getting less frequent in eastern Washington as farmer's practice better soil conservation approaches, but it is hard not to get one after a parching summer and such strong winds.

By the way,  Haboob or Arabic habÅ«b  means violent storm or strong winds.
Let me end with a video of the Haboob from  Corey Spencer at the Wine Valley Golf Cours.

video


Picture courtesy of Andrew Brown / National Weather Service
A dust storm approaches Highway 195 in eastern Washington on Sunday night.

Update.

Here is a sample of the storm reports accumulated by the National Weather Service Spokane office.  Large number of trees down.  When power poles are being taken down, you know you have a serious problem!



 0723 PM     TSTM WND DMG     OTHELLO                 46.82N 119.17W
 09/15/2013                   ADAMS              WA   UTILITY COMPANY 
 
             NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES DOWN. TREES DOWN ON HOMES 
             AND FENCES. ESTIMATED 40 POWER POLES SNAPPED OFF.
 
 0725 PM     TSTM WND DMG     OTHELLO                 46.82N 119.17W
 09/15/2013                   ADAMS              WA   TRAINED SPOTTER 
 
             PORTABLE SHELTER BLOWN 50 TO 60 FT. VISIBILITY REDUCED TO
             LESS THAN A QUARTER MILE IN BLOWING DUST.
 
 0730 PM     TSTM WND GST     WARDEN                  46.97N 119.05W
 09/15/2013  M58.00 MPH       GRANT              WA   TRAINED SPOTTER 
 
             VISIBILITY REDUCED TO 50 FT IN BLOWING DUST
 

 0743 PM     TSTM WND GST     22 SW RITZVILLE         46.90N 118.71W
 09/15/2013  M50.00 MPH       ADAMS              WA   TRAINED SPOTTER 
 
             VISIBILITY REDUCED TO ZERO IN BLOWING DUST.
 
 
 0745 PM     TSTM WND DMG     MOSES LAKE              47.12N 119.29W
 09/15/2013                   GRANT              WA   BROADCAST MEDIA 
 
             NUMEROUS TREES AND POWER LINES WERE BLOWN DOWN. SOME 
             TREES FELL ON HOUSES AND VEHICLES.
 
 0745 PM     TSTM WND GST     LIND                    46.97N 118.61W
 09/15/2013  M55.00 MPH       ADAMS              WA   MESONET         
 
 
 0753 PM     TSTM WND DMG     WASHTUCNA               46.75N 118.31W
 09/15/2013                   ADAMS              WA   UTILITY COMPANY 
 
             POWER OUTAGE AFFECTING 40 CUSTOMERS. COMBINE SHED WAS 
             DESTROYED. UPROOTED 5 TREES. ROOF BLOWN OFF OF A BARN.
 
 0756 PM     TSTM WND DMG     3 ESE GRAND COULEE      47.92N 118.94W
 09/15/2013                   LINCOLN            WA   TRAINED SPOTTER 
 
             LARGE TREE LIMB DOWN. ESTIMATED 10 TO 12 INCHES IN 
             DIAMETER. NUMEROUS OTHER 3 TO 4 INCH DIAMETER BRANCHES 
             DOWN ALONG ROUTE FROM HOME TO DOWNTOWN. MEASURED 47 MPH 
             ON HOME WEATHER STATION.
 
 
 0800 PM     TSTM WND DMG     4 NNW RUFF              47.22N 119.04W
 09/15/2013                   GRANT              WA   PUBLIC          
 
             OUTBUILDING DESTROYED. FENCE DAMAGED BY FLYING DEBRIS.
 
 0815 PM     TSTM WND DMG     6 NNE SOAP LAKE         47.46N 119.45W
 09/15/2013                   GRANT              WA   BROADCAST MEDIA 
 
             AT LEAST 6 POWER POLES WERE SNAPPED OFF.
 
 0815 PM     TSTM WND GST     ODESSA                  47.33N 118.69W
 09/15/2013  M59.00 MPH       LINCOLN            WA   MESONET         
 
             ODESSA AGRIMET STATION MEASURED 59 MPH WIND GUST.
 
 0845 PM     TSTM WND DMG     8 SE HARRINGTON         47.40N 118.13W
 09/15/2013                   LINCOLN            WA   PUBLIC          
 
             ROOF BLOWN OFF OF A BARN. TIME IS ESTIMATED FROM RADAR.
 

 0910 PM     TSTM WND GST     3 N AIRWAY HEIGHTS      47.69N 117.58W
 09/15/2013  M60.00 MPH       SPOKANE            WA   OFFICIAL NWS OBS
 
             60 MPH WIND GUST AT NWS OFFICE. 
 
 0920 PM     TSTM WND DMG     3 ESE SPOKANE           47.66N 117.34W
 09/15/2013                   SPOKANE            WA   BROADCAST MEDIA 
 
             SEVERAL TENTS AT THE SPOKANE FAIRGROUNDS WERE DAMAGED AND
             FLIPPED DUE TO HIGH WINDS FROM THUNDERSTORMS BETWEEN 915 
             AND 945 PM PDT.
 
 0925 PM     TSTM WND DMG     13 SW IRBY              47.22N 119.04W
 09/15/2013                   GRANT              WA   PUBLIC          
 
             PERSON REPORTED SHOP DOORS BLOWN OFF AND SHOP BLOWN DOWN 
             AND POWER POLES DOWN ON WHEELER RD
 
 
 1049 PM     TSTM WND GST     12 N WAHA               46.38N 116.85W
 09/15/2013  M61.00 MPH       NEZ PERCE          ID   MESONET         
 
             THE WIND GUST WAS MEASURED AT THE CORRAL CREEK RAWS 
             STATION AND LIKELY OCCURRED DURING THE PREVIOUS HOUR. 
 
 1050 PM     TSTM WND DMG     PRIEST RIVER            48.19N 116.91W
 09/15/2013                   BONNER             ID   LAW ENFORCEMENT 
 
             LAW ENFORCEMENT STATED SEVERAL POWER LINES DOWN ACROSS 
             AREAS OF SOUTHWESTERN BONNER COUNTY. EXACT LOCATIONS 
             UNKNOWN AT TIME OF REPORT AND NOT SURE IF IT WAS FROM 
             DOWNED TREES OR LIMBS.
 
 
 Picture by Skyking3286 at Kadlec Hospital in Richland


8 comments:

Bob said...

On the 0436 radar image, you can see what looks like the gust front as a darker blue line along the northern edge of the storms.

I remember seeing a few of these as a small child in Saudi Arabia back in the early 1960s. I think they were a formative event in my interest in weather. Well, that, and Dr Seuss' Bartholomew and the Oobleck...

Unknown said...

The stations reporting erroneous measurements are all reporting the same value -- 159. Why is that?

Mark said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43207034@N06/9787262335/

View for Kadlec Hospital on Saturday in Richland, WA, as the dust cloud over takes the TriCities, WA

metannoying said...

What is the difference between a haboob and a derecho?

Ansel said...

I was in it! A friend and I were climbing in the Entiat Mountains Friday through Monday. We had quite a thunderstorm late Sunday night. Almost a midwest style storm.

mjgrota said...

Boy you guy's are having quite the week!

when do the Frogs and locust arrive!

DRYSIDECOUG said...

This storm hit Connell, Washington at around 7:30PM. It blew in with such force that it felled a 16 inch pine tree that fell across a home and with electrical sparks or lightning burned the home to the ground.

A fellow I work with lost power in Othello for the better part of a full day. Highway 17 was closed because of the dozens of downed power poles laying everywhere.

Unless you go through one of these storms you don't have a real appreciation of the power they possess and your total helplessness when it hits.

Eric Moss said...

Please don't refer to Eastern Washington as the Inland Empire, its an incorrect usage of a term used for the urban area to the east of Los Angeles. Us Pacific Northwesterners don't want any affiliation with that...