Haboob blankets Riverside, San Diego counties with dust, sand

A dust storm known as a haboob blanketed the San Diego and Riverside county deserts Thursday afternoon, cutting visibility to as much as under a quarter mile.

The National Weather Service issued a blowing dust advisory Thursday afternoon due to a gust front blowing in from Imperial County.

Several images sent in to the National Weather Service showed a dramatic bank of thick dust blowing into communities like El Centro in Imperial County, and the Coachella Valley.

The haboob was apparently caused by a strong thunderstorm in Arizona that pushed winds west into Riverside and San Diego counties. Such events don’t last long, but can create walls of dust and sand as high as 10,000 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a Windblown Dust Advisory for portions of Riverside County in the wake of Thursday’s haboob due to vast amounts of dust still airborne and lingering in the Coachella Valley and Banning areas. 

Forecasters say Friday’s weather could include possible thunderstorms in inland mountain areas that could bring lightning, gusty winds, and brief, heavy periods of rain.

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