Arctic dust storm sweeps through Colorado

Photo: Arctic Haboob aerial
A dust storm in Colorado as seen from a plane.

Cold air moving quickly across Colorado brought a dust storm to southeastern parts of the state Monday afternoon.'s Senior Meteorologist Jon Erdman suggested that the storm was able to "loft dust easily" partly due to the extreme drought in southeast Colorado and other parts of the Southwest United States.

The National Weather Service tweeted a photo of the storm visible from satellites:

The visible satellite image verifies this haboob--the leading edge is the cold front, followed by dust! #cowx

This particular type of dust storm was so tough that there is a special name for it: Haboob. The word comes from the Arabic word for wind, according to the American Meteorological Society's glossary.

The average duration of a Haboob is three hours, says the American Meteorological Society, and the sand and dust sometimes forms a "dense whirling wall" that can be 3,000 feet high.

On Twitter, Amanda Wicks said that she was flying from Los Angeles to Chicago when she saw the storm near the edge of Colorado.

This week's storm ended a long stretch of unusually warm weather through October and early November, said state climatologist Nolan Doeskin. Temperatures will be not as chilly by Friday, but another cold front is on its way.

Doeskin said the next storm originates from the Pacific Ocean, "[S]o it’s actually going to bring some moisture by way of California and into our mountains."

CPR's Mike Lamp contributed to this report.