Tag Archives: Dust Storm

Blast from the Past: A Haboob for the History Books

As part of our “Blast From the Past” series, I thought I’d share some of the haboob photos that appeared on our blog in 2011, following the haboob of the year. That night, wind gusts of 50 mph to 60 mph left quite a mess in their wake. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was shut down for about an hour, while parts of the Valley lost power.

Our haboob coverage started with this photo by Victoria Coughlin of Phoenix:

Image by Victoria Coughlin

Victoria Coughlin

And then we received these remarkable images from our friends in and around the Phoenix-metro area:

Daniel Bryant

Daniel Bryant


Madeline Merrick


Merry Grace



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Filed under Mother Nature

A Haboob for the Books

When Phoenix-based photographer Mike Olbinski sent me his shots and a video (you’ve probably seen it, as its been making the media rounds) of Tuesday night’s massive haboob, my jaw dropped yet again — not only do I live blocks from where his images were taken, I didn’t realize the enormity of this thing until the next day….. OK, to be fair, I did see the dust and dirt flying by, but I was trying to finish up a story for our upcoming October issue.

Mike has graciously offered to share his some of his dramatic images with us. I also asked him a few questions about how he captured this beast of a haboob. Our mini Q&A is below:

Where were you that you were able to capture this shot?

I was at a parking garage near 7th Street and McDowell — a little place I love to visit from time to time to get shots of downtown Phoenix.

How did you prepare for the shot?

I was actually shooting a timelapse of the sunset in my backyard when I started getting texts from friends about the impending haboob. So I packed up and drove a half-mile to the parking garage to setup. I have a Canon 5D Mark II. I set it to fire off a shot every 5 seconds; then, towards the end, I lowered it to every 2 seconds.

Did you know we were going to have some fierce weather?

I had no idea it would be like that, but I’m a monsoon stormchaser during the summer, so I knew there was going to be some weather that night. The storms coming from Tucson looked pretty amazing, so I was hoping they’d roll into town. Funny thing was, I had been out chasing for the last 3-4 days, so I was taking a break that night. Glad I ended up getting out anyways!

What went through your mind as you snapped away?

I wish I had more cameras. I wish I had a wider lens. I wish I could freeze time so I could look at this giant wall of cloud for a long time. I’m an Arizona native of 35 years and have never seen anything like this.

What made this shot so special?

Well, for me, I love the contrast of the massive wall of clouds against the dwarfed city skyline. It really makes you understand how big nature is and how small we really are.


Filed under In YOUR Words, Inside Scoop, Mother Nature, Photography, Q&A

Holy Haboob!

For folks living in and around Phoenix, Mother Nature put on quite a show last night. A massive dust storm blew into town — we’re talking wind gusts of around 50-60mph — leaving a bit of a mess in its wake. Phoenix Sky Harbor was shut down for about an hour and parts of the Valley lost power… who knows what tonight will bring, but if you have any images from last night’s haboob, please share! We’ll be collecting images and creating our 2011 Dust Bowl slide show. You can send your images to kritchie@azdot.gov.

>>Image courtesy of Victoria Coughlin


Filed under Mother Nature