Droughts (Dust Storms) – Notable


Below is a table of a few notable dust storms with minimum visibility reduced to 1/4 mile or less:

Table: Droughts (Dust Storms) - Notable

Date - EventArea Originating - DescriptionVisibility
1930s "Dust Bowl"
Central United States to Canada
A series of dust storms displaced hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers in the central United States and Canada during the Dust Bowl.
In 1932, there were fourteen Dust Bowl storms with less than a quarter mile visibility.
Often a few feet (a meter) or less
April 14, 1935

"Black Sunday"
during the "Dust Bowl"
Texas Panhandle to the Oklahoma Panhandle
Black Sunday refers to a particularly severe dust storm that was one of the worst dust storms in American history and caused immense economic and agricultural damage. It is estimated to have displaced 300 thousand tons of topsoil from the Prairie area in the Midwest.
Residents of the plains States were forced to take cover as a the dust storm, or "black blizzard", blew through the region. The storm hit the eastern Oklahoma panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma first, and moved south for the remainder of the day.
Often near zero
June 22, 2006
Central and western portions of the South Plains region of TexasNear zero
February 24, 2007
Near Lubbock, Texas and south and southeast of Lubbock in West TexasLess than a mile
March 11, 2009
Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaFew meters
September 23, 2009
South Australia to inland New South Wales, Australia
This dust storm blanketed New South Wales with reddish orange skies. It stretched as far north as southern Queensland and as far east as New Zealand.
July 5, 2011
Southern portion of the Desert Southwest in the state of Arizona
This massive dust storm was triggered from thunderstorms to the south of the Phoenix metropolitan area delaying flights and causing power outages for thousands of people.

The massive dust cloud was, according to radar data, from 8,000 to 10,000 feet high and around 50 miles wide in some areas.

October 17, 2011
Northeast New Mexico and the Texas South Plains region
Wind gusts recorded up to 75 mph from a storm system passing out of the Rockies into the southern plains, caused a massive dust storm and numerous reports of tree limb damage, structure damage, and power outages.
Visibilities dropped to near zero with the dust storm as it passed through Lubbock, bringing traffic to a temporary standstill as skies turned a dark orangish-brown. Some long-term residents remarked that the dust storm was one of the worst they had ever experienced.
Near zero
July 21, 2012
Gilbert / Phoenix, Arizona
The massive Arizona dust storm slammed into the Phoenix area causing some drivers had to pull of off the road due to zero visibility situations from the thick cloud of dust spreading across the city.
The dust storm had extremely strong winds, gusting to 45mph, knocked out power to over 9,000 customers as reported by the Tucson Citizen.
September 6, 2012
Phoenix, Arizona
Winds from an approaching storm system pushed a 2,500-foot-high wall of dust over most of the Phoenix area, lowering visibility to a quarter-mile causing brief flight delays.
Less than a 1/4 mile
December 19, 2012
From Lubbock, Texas to Amarillo, Texas
Not the worst ever dust storm that our part of West Texas has seen, it was certainly of historic significance. Not since December 16th of 1977 this region seen a dust storm of longer duration.[1]
Near zero



  1. 19 December 2102 – Lubbock, Texas Dust Storm – http://www.srh.weather.gov/lub/?n=events-2012-20121219-dust