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.
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.
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.
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 habūb means violent storm or strong winds.
Let me end with a video of the Haboob from Corey Spencer at the Wine Valley Golf Cours.
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