Monsoon madness! Huge wall of dust rolls through town - - The News for South Mississippi

Monsoon madness! Huge wall of dust rolls through town

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A monsoon storm hit the Valley hard Thursday evening, bringing high winds, low visibility and a massive wall of rolling dust coming from the south.

"It is a huge one," said our reporter in the chopper, Jerry Ferguson. "This is a classic Arizona dust storm barreling across the southeast Valley."

[SLIDESHOW: Monsoon storm wreaks havoc on Phoenix area with high winds, rain]

Right around rush hour, we watched as the huge wall of dust made its way, stretching from the Estrella Mountains and into Queen Creek and beyond. 

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for areas including Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community south of Phoenix.

Visibility down to nearly zero

National Weather Service meteorologists said blowing dust in the Phoenix area brought near-zero visibility for drivers.

"This is one where we can't really see through it. It's pretty thick," said Ferguson.

[AWESOME TIMELAPSE: Monsoon storm rolls into Buckeye]

By 6:30 p.m., the wall of dust was headed directly toward the ASU Tempe campus and toward the airport. We saw planes attempting to land, and it must have been a scary sight for pilots as they tried to navigate the dust. The dust then kept rolling toward downtown Phoenix. "It is absolutely massive. Stretches from horizon to horizon."

Looking down, we saw lots of brake lights on the freeways as the dust rolled in, and also saw drivers practicing the safe method of "Pull aside. Stay alive."

'Biggest dust storm of the season'?

"I think this is the biggest dust storm of the season," said Ferguson.

If it wasn't the biggest, it was definitely right up there. The National Weather Service said the storm was 70 miles wide (that's about the distance from Phoenix to Payson!)  and 5,000 feet high.

One Arizona native emailed us this comment about Thursday's dust cloud: "I have never seen anything like this in 50 years."

[MOBILE USERS: Click here for photo]

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said flights were delayed or held until visibility improved.

"He's in the dust now. Oh, boy!" said Ferguson as a plane made its way through the thick soup of the dust cloud. "There goes that plane into the wall of dust. We'll say that pilot has a lot of courage."

Here's an amazing photo sent to us by a viewer whose plane was landing at Sky Harbor Airport just as the dust was rolling in.

[MOBILE USERS: Click HERE for photo]

Swath of damage

In Goodyear Thursday evening, the storm caused the roof of a home to collapse. Luckily, the occupants of the home were able to make it out of the home unharmed.

And in west Phoenix, a home reportedly was struck by lightning.

Other parts of the state got hit by monsoon storms, as well.

Evacuation: 'Gather necessary items and go'

In Mayer, Arizona, heavy rains led to flooded washes. The flooding prompted evacuations in low-lying areas near Big Bug Creek.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said: "There is a significant danger to you; gather necessary items and go. Get to higher ground and avoid low water crossings."

A shelter was set up at Mayer High School.

Round two

Thursday's storm was the second big one of the week. On Monday, a monsoon storm snapped and uprooted trees all over the Valley. One video, in particular, showed the moment a large palm tree broke in half.

It looks like Mother Nature will be taking a monsoon break over the weekend, but storms chances ramp up again early next week.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Monsoon 2018]

[WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? That's no baboon: Social media lets loose on reporter's autocorrection of haboob]

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