Huge sandstorm paralyzes Iraq, Kuwait

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:58 PM GMT on April 13, 2011

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A massive sandstorm enveloped Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq today, bringing air traffic to a halt and shutting down oil exports from Kuwait. The sandstorm hit Kuwait City between 5am and 6am local time, and by 6:30am, visibility had plunged to 200 meters (656 feet) at Kuwait airport, under a stiff north wind of 20 mph and a temperature of 74°F (23°C). The sandstorm hit Basra, Iraq at the same time, dropping visibility to just 50 meters (164 feet) at the airport.


Figure 1. An intense sandstorm spread dust over northern Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq, Kuwait, and northwards across Iraq to the Caspian Sea in this image taken on the afternoon of April 13, 2011. The nation of Kuwait is entirely covered by dust plumes in this image. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

The dust storm began on April 12, when the cold front trailing from a low pressure system moving across southern Turkey brought very strong westerly winds to Syria, kicking up huge amounts of suffocating dust. At 11am on April 12, winds in Damascus, Syria were 37 mph, gusting to 52 mph as the cold front passed through. As the cold front progressed to the southeast over Syria and Iraq, it kicked up additional dust from the deserts. The cold front and associated dust storm hit Baghdad, Iraq between 6pm and 7pm local time on April 12, with visibility plunging to 50 meters at the airport under northwest winds of 20 mph.

Jeff Masters

Night Sand Storm- Balad (brockleej)
Air Force Hospital Joint Base Balad at night in a sand storm
Night Sand Storm- Balad

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712. BahaHurican
2:09 AM GMT on April 23, 2011


Starting to wonder if there will be enough left to bring moisture....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
711. IKE
1:31 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
708. jeffs713
12:56 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting TampaTom:
Oh, man, getting ready for the big trip to Atlanta for the National Hurricane Conference.

Computer? Check.
Presentations? Check.
Hotel and flight reservations? You betcha.
Registration information? Uh huh.
Location to get a good mint julep? Hmmm... gonna have to ask the concierge....

Severe thunderstorms heading to Atlanta in the next 24 hours: Check.

Have fun at the conference, and if you get a chance, I'm sure many of us here would love to see some updates as the conference is going on.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5891
705. flsky
12:39 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
Four dead from last night's storms:
Link
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2111
704. TampaTom
12:38 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting Chicklit:
Good for you, Tom. Do you have a blog so you can keep us informed of your daily activities?!


Not a weather blog, but a woodworking one...

Maybe I should post updates here...
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
703. Chicklit
12:33 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
Good for you, Tom. Do you have a blog so you can keep us informed of your daily activities?!
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
702. Chicklit
12:32 PM GMT on April 15, 2011


Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
701. TampaTom
12:29 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
Oh, man, getting ready for the big trip to Atlanta for the National Hurricane Conference.

Computer? Check.
Presentations? Check.
Hotel and flight reservations? You betcha.
Registration information? Uh huh.
Location to get a good mint julep? Hmmm... gonna have to ask the concierge....
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
700. Chicklit
12:28 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
The Wicked system continues marching across MS AL.

The pressure is dropping ahead of it.


Link
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
699. flsky
12:26 PM GMT on April 15, 2011
I'm using FF also, but I have to reload each page 3 times before it displays normally. I used to value this website, now it's mostly just a frustrating pain.
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Good morning. I don't know if you are still on but when I go on WU at work the posts are cut off on the right side too. At work we are on IE but at home I use Firefox so maybe that is the problem.
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2111
698. IKE
12:01 PM GMT on April 15, 2011

Quoting aquak9:
0.01 for me, huh ike?

and an inch equals five miles...
Looks like you may have to wait for summertime thunderstorms to get your rain total up much.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
697. aquak9
11:46 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
0.01 for me, huh ike?

and an inch equals five miles...
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 177 Comments: 26630
696. IKE
11:36 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
6-10 day temperature outlook.......


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
695. KoritheMan
11:26 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Quoting traumaboyy:


Doing very well....looking foreward to sand and sun this weekend

How are things in my favorite part of the world??
Pretty good. Might get the tail end of that front, but definitely nothing compared to MS, AL, and TN.

See ya around!
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21302
694. IKE
11:25 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Quoting traumaboyy:


Mornin Ike!!

You think the bad stuff will get into the panhandle or stay north of us??
I hope it goes north of here.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
693. traumaboyy
11:23 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting KoritheMan:

Morning! How are things?


Doing very well....looking foreward to sand and sun this weekend

How are things in my favorite part of the world??
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
692. traumaboyy
11:20 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting IKE:
5 day QPF...




Mornin Ike!!

You think the bad stuff will get into the panhandle or stay north of us??
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
691. KoritheMan
11:19 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Quoting traumaboyy:


Mornin Kori!!
Morning! How are things?
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21302
690. traumaboyy
11:18 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting KoritheMan:

Still no relief for drought-stricken areas...


Mornin Kori!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
689. KoritheMan
10:56 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Quoting IKE:
5 day QPF...


Still no relief for drought-stricken areas...
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 602 Comments: 21302
688. IKE
10:44 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
5 day QPF...


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
687. IKE
10:43 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
686. stormwatcherCI
10:41 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting BobCarver:
I haven't been here in a while, but is it normal for the right sides of each line of the posts to be chopped off? I change the font sizes, but it consistently chops the lines off.

Example from post #683:

Sitting a motel room here in Mead Kansas on my way to work the hail storm in K
City. The wind is amazing here. By far the worst i have seen for such a long perio
time.
Good morning. I don't know if you are still on but when I go on WU at work the posts are cut off on the right side too. At work we are on IE but at home I use Firefox so maybe that is the problem.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8436
685. MississippiWx
10:35 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Area of Moderate Risk expanded to cover almost all of MS/AL today. Pay attention today if you're in this area:

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
684. BobCarver
9:44 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
I haven't been here in a while, but is it normal for the right sides of each line of the posts to be chopped off? I change the font sizes, but it consistently chops the lines off.

Example from post #683:

Sitting a motel room here in Mead Kansas on my way to work the hail storm in K
City. The wind is amazing here. By far the worst i have seen for such a long perio
time.
Member Since: May 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
683. JUSTCOASTING
7:39 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Sitting a motel room here in Mead Kansas on my way to work the hail storm in Kansas City. The wind is amazing here. By far the worst i have seen for such a long period of time.
Member Since: August 15, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 666
682. IceCoast
7:36 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
226 AM CDT FRI APR 15 2011

ARC001-025-039-053-069-079-085-117-119-150800-
/O.CON.KLZK.SV.W.0083.000000T0000Z-110415T0800Z/
CLEVELAND AR-LINCOLN AR-DALLAS AR-JEFFERSON AR-GRANT AR-ARKANSAS AR-
PULASKI AR-LONOKE AR-PRAIRIE AR-
226 AM CDT FRI APR 15 2011

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR WESTERN
PRAIRIE...LONOKE...EASTERN PULASKI...NORTHWESTERN ARKANSAS...
SOUTHEASTERN GRANT...JEFFERSON...NORTHEASTERN DALLAS...NORTHWESTERN
LINCOLN AND NORTHERN CLEVELAND COUNTIES UNTIL 300 AM CDT...

...EXTREME DAMAGING WINDS EXPECTED IN LONOKE COUNTY...

AT 224 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING GOLF
BALL SIZE HAIL...AND EXTREME DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 90 MPH
.
THESE STORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM METO TO 5 MILES
NORTHEAST OF ENGLAND TO 3 MILES NORTHWEST OF LAMONT...MOVING EAST AT
45 MPH.

EMBEDDED TORNADOES ARE ALSO POSSIBLE WITH THIS LINE.

* LOCATIONS IN THE PATH OF THIS LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
INCLUDE...
STUTTGART... PINE BLUFF... LONOKE...
LITTLE ROCK AFB... JACKSONVILLE... HAZEN...
WHITE HALL... WARBRITTON... WABBASEKA...
ULM... TOLTEC MOUNDS SP... TERRY LOCK AND DAM...
STUTTGART MUNI ARPT... SOUTH BEND...
SISEMORE... SCOTT... RICHARDSON...
REDFIELD...

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 40 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 158 AND 198.

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 530 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 18 AND 46.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION WITH HURRICANE FORCE WIND
SPEEDS EXPECTED. MOBILE HOMES AND HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES ARE
ESPECIALLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO WINDS OF THIS MAGNITUDE AND MAY BE
OVERTURNED. MOVE IMMEDIATELY TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS.
Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
681. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:27 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55989
680. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:19 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Advice #3
TROPICAL CYCLONE ERROL (29U)
5:00 AM CST April 15 2011
==========================================

At 3:30 am CST, Tropical Cyclone Errol, Category One (996 hPa) was located near 12.5S 125.8E, or 145 km north northwest of Troughton Island and 220 km north northwest of Kalumburu has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 55 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 2 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0/3.0/D1.0/24 HRS

Gale Force Winds
==============
45 NM from the center in the northern quadrant
60 NM from the center in the southern quadrant

The cyclone may intensify further as it moves away from the Kimberley coast early on Saturday.

GALES with gusts to 110 kilometres per hour may develop on the coast between Kalumburu and Kuri Bay during today if the cyclone takes a more southwest track.

HEAVY RAIN is expected to cause flooding in the far north Kimberley. Please refer to the latest Flood Watch for the north Kimberley, IDW39610.

Tropical Cyclone Watches/Warnings
==================================
A Cyclone WARNING continues for coastal and island communities from Kuri Bay to Kalumburu, in Western Australia.

Forecast and Intensity
========================
12 HRS: 12.1S 124.9E - 45 knots (CAT 1)
24 HRS: 11.4S 124.0E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 10.3S 121.8E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
72 HRS: 09.9S 119.6E - 25 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
=========================

Position based on radar and satellite animation. Convective structure has improved significantly overnight with the development of curved bands and a comma-shaped central feature. Dvorak analysis based on 0.6 curved band wrap giving DT=3.0. MET=3.0 and FT=PAT=3.0. Surface observations at Troughton Island 120 km south of the centre reached 28kt gusting 36kt at 00UTC but have eased a little this afternoon. Pressure falls in the north Kimberley indicate system intensification.

Model guidance at 0000UTC forecasts slow northwest movement under the influence of a strengthening ridge to the southwest. There is high confidence in the track forecast due to consistency between models. However, there is the possibility that a southwest movement may allow gales to affect the coast briefly later today.

Overall environment is favourable for further intensification with low vertical wind shear and good outflow in western and southern sectors. But a strengthening low level ridge over WA is expected to increase vertical wind shear and cause dry air to affect the cyclone within 24-36hrs. Intensification at just under the standard rate is expected, then weakening as the cyclone moves closer to the eastern Indonesian islands.

The next tropical cyclone bulletin from Darwin/Perth Tropical Cyclone Warning Center on Tropical Cyclone Errol will be issued at 10:00 AM UTC..
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
679. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:05 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #8
DEPRESSION SUBTROPICALE 09-20102011
10:00 AM RET April 15 2011
======================================

At 6:00 AM UTC, Subtropical Depression 9 (987 hPa) located at 32.8S 47.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The depression is reported as moving south at 6 knots.

Storm Force Winds
====================
50 NM radius from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
90 NM radius from the center extending up to 150 NM from the center in the southern semi-circle


Near Gale Force Winds
====================
115 NM radius from the center, extending up to 250 NM in the southern semi-circle due to the gradient effect

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 34.6S 48.2E - 55 knots (Depression Subtropicale)
24 HRS: 37.2S 50.0E - 50 knots (Depression Subtropicale)
48 HRS: 41.7S 58.2E - 30 knots (Depression Extratropical)
72 HRS: 41.7S 64.3E - 25 knots (Depression Extratropical)

Additional Information
======================

The system is still intensifying.. present vmax estimate is based on extrapolation of ASCAT data from 1810z that showed 47 knots of maximum winds in the northeastern quadrant (with stronger winds possible in the southwestern quadrant). Since that time, vorticity seems to have increased given the aspect of the low level vortex seen on microwave imagery (see the nice 0225z WINDSAT imagery). MSLP is derived from Buoy 17665 data with latest available data at 0400z giving a pressure of 989.1 hPa.

Yesterday, the system tracked south southwestward on the western edge of a mid tropospheric ridge. It has slow down since last night and has begun its southeastward turn over the southwestern face of subtropical ridge.

The system is tracking over sea surface temperature in the 22-23C range, but under the axis of a large high tropospheric trough. So during the next 12-18 hours, vertical wind shear should remain weak with good upper level divergence that will preserve convection. Thus it is likely that the system still gain a little bit of strength. Beyond, upper level vertical wind shear is expected to strengthen and system should gradually fill-up.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Seychelles Meteorological Services will be issued at 12:30 PM UTC..
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
678. Twisterman555
5:48 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Looks like I am in the middle of the land hurricane going on in Kansas. The wind is really picking up here they are saying upwards of 70mph non-thunderstorm wind gusts tomorrow.

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
1032 PM CDT THU APR 14 2011

A HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM CDT /6 PM MDT/
FRIDAY.

* TIMING: NORTHWEST WINDS OF 40 MPH OR GREATER ARE EXPECTED AFTER
MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. THE STRONGEST WINDS OF THIS HIGH WIND EVENT
ARE EXPECTED TO BE MID-MORNING THROUGH LATE AFTERNOON FRIDAY
BEFORE FINALLY DIMINISHING IN STRENGTH BY EARLY EVENING FRIDAY.

* WINDS: THE STRONGEST SUSTAINED WINDS DURING THIS HIGH WIND EVENT
ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM 40 TO 55 MPH. THERE WILL BE FREQUENT
WIND GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH AND A FEW WIND GUSTS WILL
APPROACH...IF NOT REACH 70 MPH.

* IMPACTS: A SIGNIFICANT INCONVENIENCE IS EXPECTED FOR TRAVELERS
PARTICULARLY ON EAST-WEST ROADS WHERE DANGEROUS CROSS WINDS WILL
OCCUR. THESE CROSS WINDS WILL BE MAGNIFIED AROUND LARGE
OBSTACLES SUCH AS GRAIN ELEVATORS. SHORT-TERM POWER
INTERRUPTIONS ARE ALSO LIKELY WITH EVEN A FEW POWER OUTAGES
POSSIBLE LASTING AT LEAST SEVERAL HOURS. MINOR PROPERTY DAMAGE
IS ALSO EXPECTED ESPECIALLY IF GUSTS REACH 70 MPH.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
677. JRRP
5:43 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

have a nice day
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6213
676. EYEStoSEA
4:42 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting Grothar:


We got a good soaker this afternoon. I even posted a thank you for the Rain Dance and a map showing it. It must have worked. The first rain I have seen in months.


OMG....that's great !! and a soaker at that....good fer you. Now I've got to get some sleep so I can get prepared for tomorrow...."storms a'comin".....again !!

Good night all :)
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
675. Grothar
4:38 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting EYEStoSEA:
Well, well....Grothar...I'm scared to ask, but, did ya get the rain we conjured up for ya?


We got a good soaker this afternoon. I even posted a thank you for the Rain Dance and a map showing it. It must have worked. The first rain I have seen in months.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
674. EYEStoSEA
4:37 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
673. traumaboyy
4:35 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting pottery:
We have a lot of mosquitos, and other biting insex.



Evening Pott, KOG and Gang!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
672. EYEStoSEA
4:35 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
LOLOL....too funny...
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
671. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:34 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
17:00 PM FST April 15 2011
====================================

A tropical disturbance is expected west of New Caledonia. Potential for this disturbance to develop into a cyclone is low to moderate
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46908
670. pottery
4:32 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
We have a lot of mosquitos, and other biting insex.

Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24874
669. EYEStoSEA
4:32 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


That would be a big "WOW"....very nice ;0
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
668. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:31 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55989
667. sunlinepr
4:27 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
666. EYEStoSEA
4:26 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Well, well....Grothar...I'm scared to ask, but, did ya get the rain we conjured up for ya?
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
665. Grothar
4:24 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
664. Grothar
4:22 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
663. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:22 AM GMT on April 15, 2011


area of high risk
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 55989
662. EYEStoSEA
4:18 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting washingtonian115:
Good night to all,and to all a happy New Years!.Lol. yeah I know I'm not santa let alone his wife.(Yawn).Ah Guud night.


night night
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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