About that Phoenix dust storm…

A dust storm occurred in Phoenix the other day. Forbes is certainly writing about it breathlessly. Get this:

Arizonans are calling it the mother of all dust storms.
“The mile-high wall of ominous, billowing dust that appeared to swallow Phoenix and its suburbs is all that locals can talk about. It moved through the state around sundown Tuesday, halting airline flights, knocking out power to nearly 10,000 people, turning swimming pools into mud pits and caking cars with dirt. The sky was still filled with a hazy shade of brown Wednesday as residents washed their cars and swept sidewalks. Because dust storms, also known by the Arabic term “haboobs,” are so hard to predict, Tuesday’s took everyone by surprise. Seemingly out of nowhere, the 100-mile-wide storm moved like a giant wave, the dust roiling as it approached at up to 60 mph. Once it hit, visibility dropped to zero in some areas, the sky turned nearly black, trees blew sideways, and even downtown Phoenix skyscrapers became invisible. “Just the height of it looked like a special-effect scene from a movie, like a dust storm out in Africa,” said Charlotte Dewey, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Phoenix. “It looked so huge, looking at the city down below, it was just specks of light and miniature buildings. She said meteorologists were still trying to get exact measures from satellite and radar to figure out how big the dust storm was and compare it with previous ones, but they estimate it was more than a mile high and more than 100 miles wide. “People who’ve lived here their whole lives, 30 or 40 years, are saying they’ve never seen a storm this large,” Dewey said.” More at link.

The question remains, however, in wondering first how common or uncommon are dust storms in Phoenix? Pretty common, according to this 1984 article in the Journal of Climatology, based on studies of storms in Arizona from 1965-1980. “In general, Yuma experiences the most dust storms per year followed closely by Phoenix, with Tucson and Winslow having very few events. Dust storms at Phoenix, on average, tend to be more severe than those experienced at the other sites. The most intense and frequent dust storms in Arizona occur during the summer months and are associated with strong downdrafts generated by intense thunderstorm activity.”

This short news article from 2009 warned about a storm that limited visibility and advised motorists to use caution. That’s all, run of the mill.

So in seeing an event like the storm this week, it is wise to stop and place it in context. The answer is that dust storms happen frequently in Phoenix. But in looking at end time signs, it is also wise to wonder about frequency and intensity. We know from Matthew 24:8 that Jesus said the Tribulation will be as labor pains. He likened the Tribulation and end time events as such because it will be a time of increasing travail, rising and rising in pain and intensity until the birth. The end of the Church age as it approaches the threshold of the Tribulation will also be a time of increasing disasters in all realms: spiritual, economic, and ‘natural.’

I find it interesting that the storm was so huge, sudden, and particularly devastating. I also think it is interesting that they likened the air quality to the ash fall from the various volcanoes erupting in different hemispheres this month. That the storm was a mile high and 100 miles wide is a very large storm that would strike fear into any person unlucky enough to be in its path.

This article says, “The massive dust storm that swept through Phoenix, Ariz., last night (July 5), reducing visibility to near zero and delaying flights, was a whopper, meteorologists said. The dust storm is what’s called a a haboob (Arabic for “strong wind”). In the United States, haboobs are common in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. But yesterday’s haboob was more like something you’d see in the Middle East or other arid regions around the world, said Ken Waters, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Phoenix. It was mind-boggling, just absolutely amazing,” Waters told OurAmazingPlanet. “I’ve been a meteorologist for years and I’ve not seen a wall of dust like that.”

We can all agree- even atheists have to agree- that the science shows increasing meteorological disruption. Outsized storms, volcanoes erupting that never erupted before, strange sun behavior, earthquakes in diverse places…all speak to end time signs. I’ve been beating the drum long enough that people should really begin looking to Jesus if they have not repented, and be looking to Jesus if they have, as the comfort of His soon appearance.