Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Phoenix Dust Storm - Best Of pics & 1st person account
The Phoenix Dust Storm has made the national and international news (as far away as New Zealand: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10736809). I will say, it was probably the coolest weather phenomenon I have ever seen.
Imagine a 5000 ft tall thundercloud, AT GROUND LEVEL, stretching from horizon to horizon, rolling towards you, looking like the frothy front side of a wave. It was more than a bit unnerving.
The light was perfect, streaming right across the face of the cloud from the setting sun, highlighting the sharp shadows of the rolling clouds across its face, and bringing out its rich orange (from both the setting sun and the orange dust).
I was driving directly into it, on my motorcycle... without helmet, jacket, or even long pants. I was coming home from a swim at the pool a few miles away, still in my shorts and t-shirt, intending to enjoy the cool air. Instead I was driving like a bat out of hell, going 70 (mph) down cut-through streets to beat that monster home. I did not relish the thought of the blinding grit pounding into my face, and I thought it would be a downpour as well. I felt like Viggo Mortensen in that scene in Hidalgo, racing the dust storm (except I was racing INTO it, rather than away...). Luckily, I met the face of the storm just as I pulled into my driveway.
Inside the cloud, the air was thick orange and dark, with swirling winds knocking everything about from all directions. Turned out to be totally dry in the cloud itself, no rainfall whatever.
I would have given anything to have a "panorama" camera when I was coming up to it. I've attached a collage of the best pics I could find online. Unfortunately, most of them were taken after the sun set, so the cloud front just looks dark, but a couple of them caught the spectacular orange.
Posted by Justin at 11:20 AM