Jonathan Erdman, meteorologist for The Weather Channel, was amazed by the images created by the Australian dust storm.
"In 18 years of meteorology, I've never seen a white shelf cloud capping the brownish dirt from the haboob. If there was a hall of fame for weather photos, this one would get in on the first ballot."
Dust storms, or haboobs, are common in the U.S. Desert Southwest in the summer months. Thunderstorms form over higher terrain, but the dry air in the lowest layers of the atmosphere evaporates precipitation falling out of the thunderstorm, leading to strong winds at the surface, surging outward, picking up dust, instead of rain with a typical thunderstorm.
Australia's searing heat has made news this week. According to Weather Underground's Christopher Burt, Leonora topped out at 120 degrees Jan. 9, breaking that city's all-time record.
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