Thursday, April 30, 2009
Skywatch Friday: Dusty Skys
4-14-09 @ 4:54 PM MST
This mountain sits across the valley from Picacho Peak. I visited the park on a sunny, but windy day 2 weeks ago. Though the sky was clear and blue when I arrived, the wind kicked up the dust and drove in the clouds, transforming the light on this mountain. From these two photos you can see the difference in just an hour's time. While the sun has sunk lower in the east (to my back) the dust filled sky makes the second photo grayer instead of rich with color like you usually see in the evening.
Springtime often brings high winds like this to Arizona. They can blow up dust storms even greater than this, called a Haboob. When that happens visibility drops to near zero and the best thing to do is to pull your car off the road and shut of all your lights. If you leave even your parking lights on the other traffic will think you are moving and slam into the back of your vehicle trying to follow you. This area around Picacho Peak and Casa Grande is well known for its dust storms. Check out the ADOT webpage for further information about driving in a Haboob.