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Eerie Videos Show West Texas Dust Storm As Area Hit by Haboob

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Videos show a huge dust storm that enveloped road users and residents in West Texas on Monday and Tuesday, at times leaving almost zero visibility.

Some of the clips show the storm as it approaches as a vast red wall of dust contrasting with the clear sky.

The video above was filmed on Monday by Twitter user @AnnHd04 in Snyder, Texas.

Others show scenes from within the storm. In one video, uploaded to Twitter by road user Cam Wade, the storm can be seen from inside a car that appears to have pulled off of the road.

This was at 4:45PM taken in between Lamesa and Seminole, Texas. ⁦@TxStormChasers⁩ ⁦@rrobertswxlab⁩ ⁦@NWSMidland⁩ pic.twitter.com/oNTYdO7DrV

— Cam Wade (@gcwade) March 22, 2021

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Visibility outside appears to stretch for a few feet, and the road below can barely be seen. Wade said the clip was taken at 4:45pm local time between Lamesa and Seminole, Texas.

Texas’ National Weather Service Midland issued a dust storm warning on Monday, warning of visibility occasionally reaching zero and strong winds in excess of 40mph. The service urged people not to travel.

On Wednesday morning, the service said ongoing dry and breezy conditions in some parts of the state meant there was a very high fire danger, and advised residents to be careful with sparks and open flames.

Dust storms are also known as haboobs. They can occur anywhere in the U.S., but they tend to be most common in the southwest. The word haboob is derived from the Arabic word habb, which means “to blow.”

Haboobs occur when a thunderstorm produces strong winds that flow downward and then outward, stirring up dust as they go. Often they arrive quickly, appearing as a vast wall of dust that can be miles long and hundreds of feet high.

During a dust storm, visibility can be severely reduced which poses a danger to motorists who may be suddenly caught up in one.

The National Weather Service (NWS) states car accidents during a dust storm may lead to chain collisions and pileups.

The NWS states that drivers who notice a dust storm approaching should “pull your vehicle off the pavement as far as possible, stop, turn off lights, set the emergency brake, take your foot off of the brake pedal to be sure the tail lights are not illuminated.”

“If you can’t pull off the roadway, proceed at a speed suitable for visibility, turn on lights and sound horn occasionally. Use the painted center line to help guide you. Look for a safe place to pull off the roadway.”

Stopped drivers should turn tail lights off so other vehicles do not attempt to follow them and potentially crash into them from behind.

A stock image shows a dust storm blowing across an Arizona road. Dust storms and their lack of visibility can be dangerous for drivers.
pancaketom/iStock

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