On 08/24/2013, at approximately 2:00 P.M., a dust storm came across Interstate 40 east of Fort Cady Road in Newberry Springs that caused low visibility. As a result, about ten vehicles including big rigs and passenger vehicles were involved in a traffic collision that resulted in multiple injuries.
John Tinkler, a 74 year-old resident of Dublin, CA was a passenger in a 2007 Saturn Ion and a 71 year-old male from Green Valley Arizona was the driver and sole occupant in a 1994 Toyota who were both pronounced dead at the scene.
The name of the 71 year-old male will be released pending notification of the next of kin. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.
The arid and semiarid regions of North America—in fact, any dry region—may experience haboobs. The term haboob is not commonly used in the arid regions of the United States where these events occur. In North America the most common terms for these events is either dust storm or sandstorm. In the U.S., they frequently occur in the deserts of Arizona, including around the cities of Yuma and Phoenix—and in New Mexico and Texas. During thunderstorm formation, winds move in a direction opposite to the storm’s travel, and they move from all directions into the thunderstorm. When the storm collapses and begins to release precipitation, wind directions reverse, gusting outward from the storm and generally gusting the strongest in the direction of the storm’s travel.
When this downdraft of cold air, or downburst, reaches the ground, it blows dry, loose silt and clay (collectively, dust) up from the desert, creating a wall of sediment that precedes the storm cloud. This wall of dust can be up to 100 km (62 mi) wide and several kilometers in elevation. At their strongest, haboob winds often travel at 35–100 km/h (~20–60 mph), and they may approach with little or no warning. Often rain does not appear at ground level as it evaporates in the hot, dry air (a phenomenon known as virga). The evaporation cools the rushing air even further and accelerates it. Occasionally, when the rain does persist, it can contain a considerable quantity of dust. Severe cases are called mud storms. Eye and respiratory system protection are advisable for anyone who must be outside during a haboob. Moving to shelter is highly desirable during a strong event.
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