Published on : Tuesday, June 3, 2014
As a result of the storm, at least one person is dead according to state TV and The Iran Project. However, Shargh Daily, an independent Iranian newspaper, reports 3 dead and 27 injured.
The storm, sometimes referred to as a haboob (Arabic for blasting/drafting), hit without any prior warning and unleashed winds blowing at nearly 70 mph – downing trees.
“The skies over Tehran suddenly turned black as a wall of sand hit the city from the west, my wife called me to get home immediately,” said Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran bureau chief for the New York Times.
Weather observations in Tehran show a stunning transformation in conditions as the storm struck. A 5 p.m. local time, it was 91 degrees with a moderate breeze. At 5:30 p.m., the temperature dropped to 73 degrees with a raging sustained wind at 55 mph gusting to 69 mph in a reported thunderstorm with heavy rain. By 6 p.m., the temperature was down to 66 degrees, with a sustained wind of 35 mph.
The scene in Tehran is eerily reminiscent of the dust storm or “haboob” that raked Phoenix in July, 2011. These kinds of dust storms usually form when thunderstorm downdrafts smash into the desert ground and stir up the dust. Then, as the thunderstorm starts to decay, its outflow consolidates the dust into a solid wall and carries it towards some unlucky destination.
The views of dust storm sweeping into Iran’s capital city are apocalyptic.