A 3,000 foot high wave of dust poured through the Phoenix area yesterday, coating cars, reducing visibility and delaying some flights.
The dust storm, also known as a haboob, was the second of the month for Phoenix area residents. Propelled by winds of 25 to 30 mph, it did not achieve the same magnitude as the prior one but still posed some public safety risks.
You have suddenly very poor visibilities that come on with all the dense dust in the air, Austin Jamison, a meterologist with the National Weather Service, told the Associated Press. With poor visibilities, that makes for dangerous driving conditions and that's arguably the biggest impact.
Haboobs are common to arid, desert areas that have dry heat and copious amounts of sand. They occur frequently in the Middle East and in the Sahara.
In Arizona, tiny airborne spores released when desert soil is stirred yp can cause people to contract a fungal infection known colloquially as valley fever. Dr. John Galgiani told the Tucson Citizen that Maricopa County was likely see 3,600 more cases, resulting in a total of 5,000 cases for July and August.
It takes a few weeks to incubate and I have no doubt we will see a lot of valley fever in urgent care, said Dr. Rick Swearingen, medical director of urgent care for Catholic Healthcare West Urgent Care in Ahwatukee Foothills . The reality of it is, it goes away without treatment but if symptoms persist than we urge people to come in here or to their doctor if they have a cough and fever.