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April 04, 2015

D is for Drought and Dust Storm



My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Today’s disasters are...
DROUGHTS and DUST STORMS

A DROUGHT is an extended period of time (months to years) when a region goes without rain and experiences a decline in its water supply. During this time, the land dries up, grasses die and trees wither. Wildlife and livestock also parish. Without water, people suffer dehydration, hunger (due to no crops), and diseases. There is also a great risk of wildfires.

FACT: In 2005, parts of the Amazon experienced its worst drought conditions in 100 years, and in 2011, Texas lived under a drought emergency for the whole calendar year.

A DUST STORM (also known as sandstorm or haboob in Arabic) occurs when strong winds lift loose sand and dirt from dry land and blow it over a region for hundreds of miles with wind speeds of at least 25 mph.

FACT: Dust can be lifted as high as 20,000 feet.

Dust storms resemble giant walls of dirt that become blinding and suffocating. Sand pelting your skin can also be painful. If you ever see a dust storm coming or are caught in one, it would be best to pull over to the side of the road or find some kind of shelter. If your outdoors when one hits, lie down and cover your head/face.

FACT: Dust storms usually last a few minutes, but afterward everything is covered with dust and sand, which can still be in the air, making breathing difficult.


WRITING TIP: If you write about cowboys in Texas or Australia, or soldiers in Iraq, throwing in a dust storm could be an exciting addition to your story that’ll give your readers an idea about what the conditions are like in those places of the world.


QUESTION: Have you ever been in a drought or dust storm?
If so, what was it like?


Disasters:


I'm a member of Tremp's Troops!

90 comments:

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

I've only ever been in a British drought, which is somewhat pathetic compared to the real, real thing :). Wow, those pictures of dust storms - I always thought the CGI in things like The Mummy and MI4 were exaggerating, but I guess not!
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Pat Hatt said...

Those dust storms would be harsh,glad I have not had to experience that or a drought.

Suzanne said...

Pretty much nought for four! We have had the odd year here when there's been a hose ban but that's about it LOL! But two of my boys are hopefully off to California this summer and I understand there's a real water shortage going on.

nashvillecats2 said...

Our droughts are nothing compared to other parts of the world.
Yours is a very interesting topic throughout and is an eye opener as to what other countries go through.

Sophie Duncan said...

When I see true drought conditions it makes the water companies in the UK laughable - their response to a couple of months with no rain is to declare drought conditions and impose hosepipe bans on their customers. We just do not store water efficiently enough in the UK, because we've been able to be lazy being so used to a temperate, rainy climate.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Chrys Fey said...

I thought the dust storms in The Mummy were exaggerated too.

Chrys Fey said...

Florida has gone through dry spells, but nothing like the droughts experienced in other places.

Chrys Fey said...

A water shortage in California. I haven't heard about that. That must be difficult to deal with.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Yvonne. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That doesn't sound like fun. Or very reasonable or smart. I'd horde water if I was there. ;)

Sarah Foster said...

I've never experienced an actual drought, but there was one summer that was so hot and dry that the bog behind my house dried out. It was fun to walk around in a place that was usually filled with water.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can you imagine a wall of dust coming at you? I never went through one like that, but there was always dust blowing in Arizona.

Lisa Thomson said...

This would be a frightening experience, Chrys! Suffocating and painful combined with extreme heat. No, I haven't experienced anything like it. Is California in a drought? I heard they're water rationing soon. One day water may be more of a precious resource than oil.Great ideas for stories, thanks!

Chrys Fey said...

That would be fun. Almost forbidden. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Seeing something like that coming at you would be terrifying.

Chrys Fey said...

That's something that Suzanne mentioned before. I have no idea if they are in a drought, but I know they experience terrible wildfires so it wouldn 't surpirse me.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I love the part in Mission Impossible 4 where they encounter the sand storm! Have you read Mindy McGinnis' book NOT A DROP TO DRINK? It's a bout a drought and it's futuristic and really good:)

Chrys Fey said...

No, I haven't read that book. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check it out! :)

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' said...

Hi Crys,
This disaster series really a chilling experience,
Oh, so far no, can't even imagine one,
Wonderful presentation. Pictures are wonderful too!
May you have a great weekend
Season's Greetings,
~ Philip

Cortney Pearson said...

Oh my goodness, I've seen pictures of dust storms, but have never really experienced anything like that. And I hope I never do!

Lisa said...

They have dust storms in Arizona too. Friends of mine live there, Phoenix, and they have to deal with them from time to time. No fun at all. Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Margo Kelly said...

Those dust storm pictures are amazing. WOW!

Chrys Fey said...

Chilling? I guess I'll take that as a compliment. ;)

Thank you, Phillip! I hope you have a great weekend too. Happy Easter! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I hope none of us ever do!

Chrys Fey said...

I'd love to go to Arizona but I could never live there with the heat, dust, and potential for dust storms.

Chrys Fey said...

Aren't they? I was amazed when I found them.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Dust storms sound particularly nasty. I haven't been caught in either one, happy to say. We're all about the flooding and tornados over here! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Flooding and tornadoes suck!

diedre Knight said...

Ugh, the dust storms are incredible! We tend to dodge them in my town but we do get dust devils a lot. There's a huge expanse of barren dirt between here and Phoenix and I-10 goes right through it. Strong winds kick up that dirt and terrorize motorists before charging right into Phoenix.

Jolie du Pre said...

I've never been in a drought or a dust storm. (Those dust storm images look frightening.) We do have a cottage on an island in Canada. We've experienced hurricane type weather up there, and that can get scary.

Precious Monsters

Jeffrey Scott said...

Dust storms approaching always look cool on the TV. I wouldn't mind photographing one, one day. That or a tornado. Just as long as I could get away quickly and safely.

Chrys Fey said...

Dust devils are so strange, seeing dust spiral up like that.

Chrys Fey said...

I discussed hurricanes yesterday. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Getting away quickly and safely is key. I don't think I'd have the guts to photograph either phenomena.

betty said...

I've been in droughts but not severe droughts. In fact the standing joke for hubby and me was that every place we moved to, they would go from abundance of water to drought conditions while we lived there (maybe we need a job on the east coast next). California is in an extreme drought (and though I'm in Arizona now still keep up with the news there). I hear lots of mandatory water rationing etc. When we lived there we had already started cutting back and did cut our water bill in half by doing so.

betty

betty said...

oh forgot to say, nothing to do with drought or dust storm, but you have been busy in blog land during the challenge. I go to visit a blog and you've already been there :) are you getting any sleep, LOL :)

betty

Chrys Fey said...

Cutting back on water would be difficult. We need water to bath, wash dishes, clothes, to drink and make food. Yikes!

Chrys Fey said...

Haha! A little bit of sleep. ;) I spend the morning hopping around blogs, check in in the afternoon to return comment and maybe once in the evening. It takes a lot.

Shell Flower said...

Those sand storm pics are scary. I fear we may have a drought this summer even though it's been raining. There is no snow on our mountains and we really depend on the melting snow pack to keep the rivers running during the summer. Dust storms really do make a story exciting.

Trisha said...

Parts of Australia are usually in drought - it's a way of life, in a way! Right now it's the tail end of summer and I am absolutely longing for even one drop of rain here in Perth.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Drought and dust storms are not common in my state. I feel blessed. I've watched many countries and cities thought, and it looks scary.
Glad you got your post fixed, Chrys.

Salvwi Prasad said...

Hi,
This is quite an informative theme for the challenge. Sure I have faced water problems and learnt ways to use less. :) Good Luck.

Cheers,
POETICbug
http://poeticbug.blogspot.com/

Unknown said...

Blegh, technology issues are so frustrating! Glad they didn't prevent me from reading yet another interesting post. Have a blessed Easter!

Liz A. said...

As you may know, California is in a severe drought at the moment...

Mary Kirkland said...

I've never been in a sand storm like those pictured. But I live in Las Vegas where we are in a drought, it's not as bad as California right now but the lake where we get our water from is really low.

Mike said...

Where I live now on the panhandle of Florida I cant inagine a drought here. It rains quite a bit.

Unknown said...

I (thankfully) have never been in a dust storm, but I did see my first dust devil while driving through New Mexico. Crazy!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - lots of Disasters too - I'd rather not try any of those. Dust Storms and Drought - they can come and go .. but we don't help ourselves ... by taking down the (for us) hedges, which stop the soil being eroded by water or wind ... and maintain the water in the soil ... cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hi Chrys, Enjoying your theme for the challenge (and your facts - very interesting). Thankfully - never had to deal with a drought or a dust storm.

Lidy said...

I don't think I've ever experienced or remember being in a drought. The closest thing was a NYC heat wave. And that was oppressive. Like the sun was suffocating you. And made worse because there wasn't a lot of trees to give you shade/relief.

Rhonda Albom said...

Wow, those dust storm photos are pretty scary. I have seen a sand storm, but those look so much worse.

Nick Wilford said...

Dust storms are one of the disasters I fear most, although I'm unlikely to be in Iraq anytime soon! They're unlikely to be fatal though, so that's something.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

We got stuck in a Red Lobster in Arizona during a sand storm. I have never seen anything like it. I was more excited than frightened, but I was glad I was inside...

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Chrys Fey said...

No snow on the mountains? I don't know where you live, but in many areas they got a ton of snow. Some still have snow! I hope a drought isn't the case.

Chrys Fey said...

Australia has hard summers for sure. That's why I could never live there. I already don't like the summers in Florida. HAHA!

Chrys Fey said...

In Florida, we don't get droughts, but we do go through long dry spells that make a great risk of fires here.

Thanks, Dixie! So am I!

Chrys Fey said...

That's good, Salvwi! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad too! Thank you, Anne! Happy Easter! :D

Chrys Fey said...

I just found out about that yesterday from other commenters. That's terrible! It seems my posts are spot on with things happen in other parts of the world. I did C for Cyclone and there's Cyclone Pam causing havoc. I didn't know that until later that night!

Chrys Fey said...

Oh no! Conserve, conserve, conserve!

Chrys Fey said...

I live in Florida too but I'm in the Central and we tend to go through dry spells every once in a while.

Chrys Fey said...

That would be crazy to see.

Chrys Fey said...

We definitely don't help ourselves. If we were more cautious, the conditions might not get so bad. But sometimes there's nothing you can do if there's no rain for a long time.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Notes! Can I call you Notes? :)

Chrys Fey said...

Heat waves suck! We get those in Florida and I just want to stay indoors the whole time.

Chrys Fey said...

Dust storms and sand storms are pretty much the same thing. It's just they carry different debris.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been in either. Tasha mentioned The Mummy - I immediately thought of that movie when I saw those pics. Really hoping I don't experience these in real life!

Chrys Fey said...

As long as you cover up, you should be okay.

Chrys Fey said...

Really? Wow! Well, at least you got stuck in a nice place. Free shrimp while you wait? :P

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you don't either!

Lux G. said...

The picture of sandstorm is really scary.
Well, Happy Easter!

Chrys Fey said...

Happy Easter, Lux! :)

kaykuala said...

Dust storms can be not just a bother but dangerous as well! Imagine breathing dusty and unclean air let alone getting them into the eyes. The pics are beautiful but frightening!

Hank

Tammy Theriault said...

I did NOT know dust storms looked like freakin tidal waves. Good gosh!

Deniz Bevan said...

Very scary. I've been wondering about dust storms since finishing The Grapes of Wrath last week.

Sara C. Snider said...

Wow, those dust storm pictures are both amazing and terrifying! I grew up in California, and I remember there being periods of water shortages, though I'm not sure if it was ever a full-blown drought (though there is one now--which I see others have already commented on).

Anonymous said...

That dust storm in the center looks terrifying. I've never been in either, fortunately.

Chrys Fey said...

It would be suffocating.

Chrys Fey said...

When the strong winds come, they do. Isn't it scary? I wouldn't want to see that coming toward me.

Chrys Fey said...

Another book I haven't read. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I've never been in a full-blown drought, just dry spells that cause a lot of brush fires here in Florida.

Chrys Fey said...

That is very fortunate. I hope you never do.

Jane said...

In honor of Passover, we are currently in the 3rd day of the holiday, I'm adding the disaster of DARKNESS. We experience DARKNESS nowadays as an aftermath of volcanoes, which spew volcanic ash and create darkness for thousands of miles around.

Scientists now believe that a volcano more than 400 miles away from the ancient Egyptian city-on-the-Nile of Pi-Ramses, which served as the Egyptian capital during the reign of Ramses the second as Pharaoh (from 1279 BC- 1213 BC), is now thought to be responsible for triggering the plague of darkness.

Chrys Fey said...

That's fascinating, Jane. I'll be talking about volcanoes later. ;)

Unknown said...

Being in the Middle East for over a decade meant being subjected to a lot of dust storms. It would feel icky since a lot of dust accumulated everywhere as an aftermath. :D

Chrys Fey said...

I would sure hate the cleanup. :P

Birgit said...

They look horrible! I watched a documentary about the great dustbowl and that dust was carried all the way to New York and beyond!

Chrys Fey said...

That's amazing!

Bevimus said...

I was just reading something the other day about the anniversary of "Black Sunday"- the mid-west storm that created the 'dust bowl' during the Great Depression. Scary stuff!

Chrys Fey said...

That sounds like it would've been a fascinating read.