An intense dust storm accompanied by heavy rainfall, strong winds and lightning swept through Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, November 3, 2016.
The storm spread over Phoenix during the late afternoon hours (local time), surprising the residents and causing traffic disruptions across the affected areas. According to some eyewitnesses, the visibility reduced to less than a mile while strong rains soaked the streets, delaying the local commute.
Video credit: MrMBB333
A pilot Bruce Haffner observed the storm moving from the south along the I-10 south of Chandler, and then spreading over the entire Valley. Heavy rainstorms preceded a wall of dust.
In total, 20 mm (0.79 inches) of rainfall was recorded in Queen Creek, 16.26 mm (0.64 inches) in Chandler, 9.1 mm (0.36 inches) in Avondale, and 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) in Phoenix. Evening temperatures have fallen to about 15.6 °C (60 °F).
According to Jonathan Belles, a weather.com meteorologist, the storms in southern Arizona produced wind gusts between 32.2 and 56.3 km/h (20 and 35 mph) while approaching the Phoenix metro.
Video credit: Matthew Muise
Video credit: ABC15 Arizona
Dust storms in the region usually occur during the monsoon season. However, the 2016 Arizona monsoon season already ended, and this event has taken the people by surprise.
The National Weather Service (NWS) reported the dust got kicked up by a thunderstorm, and it could spread dust, heavy rain, and small hail, across portions of the Valley. A blowing dust advisory was issued at 16:00 for the greater Phoenix area.
Featured image: Phoenix dust storm, November 3, 2016. Image credit: Matthew Muise