With the summer monsoon season upon us, you may experience the infamous Phoenix Haboobs. As anybody that has lived in the Phoenix metro area for any length of time can testify to, these freak summer storms can cause a ton of dirt to pile up in any front or back yard. However, did you know that they also can be very dangerous as well?
For those that might be new to the Haboob’s we have here in Phoenix, here are a few important factors to consider about what you should do if you encounter a Phoenix Haboob.
Three Important Facts About Phoenix Haboobs
First – What is a Haboob?
Haboobs are that temper throwing young sibling in the dust storm family. Although they are relatively kind of small compared to tornados and other wind-related storms, they can erupt quickly and often cause a ton of potential damage. These dirt storms are very common in the Sudan and primarily here in the Southwestern Plains. They tend to be associated with thunderstorm activity, as hail or rain will quickly follow a haboob. As much as we’d like the rain to be significant to wash away all the dust and debris they can cause, the truth is that this usually doesn’t occur.
Second – What Health Problems can Haboobs Cause?
For people that live with COPD or other breathing conditions, the Phoenix Haboob is a nightmare. During these windstorms, particles are saturated within the air we breathe. Therefore, people with emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma tend to suffer the worse. However, another potential problem can happen to anybody that gets a big dose of Haboob dust.
There are several micro-bacteria particles that occupy the Sonoran Desert. And if ingested in large amounts can trigger a very dangerous medical condition known as Valley Fever. Traditionally the elderly, children and pets are most at risk for these type of medical problems, but anybody in Phoenix and surrounding cities would be wise to keep a disposable medical mask in their cars at all times.
Third – What Should I Do if I Encounter a Phoenix Haboob?
There are two basic ways that people can encounter a Haboob.
– Either you are traveling somewhere and you drive, ride or walk into one
– You are at home, work or another location and the Haboob passes over you
Either way, there are a few things you need to do in order to avoid potential damage or accidents.
- First – if you’re driving you should always slow when you see it approaching and pull over to the side of the road. You should also roll up all windows and close all air-conditioning vents to ensure your inside cabin is not saturated with dust and debris from a haboob. KEEP YOUR SEATBELT ON! Don’t get out to take photos!
- Second – Under no circumstances should you ever drive into a haboob. Visibility can literally disappear to absolute zero.
- Third – If you’re caught outdoors when a Haboob hits, you should cover your mouth and nose with some sort of makeshift mask.
- Fourth – If you are at home, and you see it approaching, make sure you bring your children and pets indoors. Close the windows and doors as well.
Haboobs are not simply a pesky dirt storm. They can be very dangerous and cause serious health conditions to occur and flair up. Regardless of where you are when Phoenix Haboobs hit, make sure you take every effort to stop what you’re doing and seek shelter and protect yourself at all times.
Also – read our blog post about “How To Avoid Heating and Cooling Repairs At Your Home” for more useful info!
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