Wednesday, July 6, 2011
(CNN) -- Hollywood couldn't have better scripted the wall of dust that looked big enough to eat Phoenix.
The violent dust or sandstorm, called a haboob, typically occurs over desert land and can stretch thousands of feet high, according to the National Weather Service.
Tuesday evening's version, which had sustained winds of up to 69 mph and stretched more than 100 miles at one time, was especially intense. Oddly, the thunderstorm it accompanied produced little rain.
Haboob comes from the Arabic word for wind and is used to describe sand and dust storms across the world. They usually occur during the summer monsoon season in the Southwest.