Residents in Phoenix, Arizona suffered through decreased visibility as a haboob, a type of sand storm, moved through the area Thursday (8/18).
A haboob is a type of intense sand storm generally observed in the Sahara desert, across the Arabian Peninsula, and Iraq.
The enormous brown clouds settled in to the area, but it wasn't the first time the region has seen them. This is at least the third time this year that such a sand storm, often stretching for miles, hit the American southwest. The storms bring near-zero visibility, halting road and air traffic and spreading dust and dirt for miles on homes, roads and public structures.
The use of the term "haboob" which has Arabic roots, has been controversial in describing a storm in the United States.