Dust Storm (Haboob)

Definition

Straight line winds in a thunderstorm can lift huge clouds of dust and reduce visibilities to near zero in seconds, which can quickly result in deadly, multi-vehicle accidents on roadways.
An intense dust storm is called a haboob.

Watches and warnings

Watch the sky and stay tuned to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, commercial radio, television, or internet for information.
  • A dust storm watch tells you when and where dust storms are likely to occur.
  • A dust storm warning is issued when visibility is one-half mile or less due to blowing dust or sand, and wind speeds are 30 miles per hour or more.
Immediate actions
  • Dust storms usually last a few minutes or up to an hour at most. Stay where you are until the dust storm passes.
  • If you are on campus or at home,
    • Close all doors and windows.
    • Turn off the air conditioner or HVAC system.
  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
  • If you encounter a dust storm while driving,
    • Check traffic around your vehicle and begin slowing down.
    • Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to pull off the roadway – do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
    • Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane. Look for a safe place to completely pull off the paved portion of the roadway.
    • Turn off your headlights and taillights, put your vehicle in “park,” and take your foot off the brake so your brake lights are not illuminated. Other motorists tend to follow taillights in an attempt to get through the dust storm and may strike your vehicle from behind.
    • Stay in the vehicle with seat belt buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
    • Keep a dust brush in your car. After the dust storm passes, use the dust brush to clean your engine cover, hood, and vents.
    • Keep an emergency pack in your car (e.g., bottled water, flashlight, blanket) in case your car won’t start due to the amount of dust and debris.
Prior to an emergency
  • ATSU is committed to protecting students, faculty, staff, and guests from all types of hazardous weather including, but not limited to, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, lightning, extreme heat, and winter weather. ATSU encourages all students, faculty, staff,and guests to be aware of changing weather and prepared to take appropriate safety precautions, as needed, for their specific location.
  • The National Weather Service provides alert and warning information through weather.gov and maintains a listing of third-party sources that can deliver email and SMS weather alerts to individual subscribers’ smartphone and electronic devices. Visit weather.gov for additional information.
  • Since 2012, most cell phones are equipped with Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which are free, text-like notifications that inform their subscribers of a dangerous situation – man made or natural disasters – where you happen to be. In 90-characters or less, WEA states who is sending the alert, what is happening, whom is affected, and what action to take.

Kirksville and Mesa Emergency Numbers

KIRKSVILLE CAMPUS

Security Emergency and non-emergency 
(On Campus) ext. 33
(Off Campus) 1-660-349-9513

Kirksville Police: 
(On Campus) Dial 9-911 
(Off Campus) Dial 911

MESA CAMPUS

Security Office: *7 from any campus phone
Switchboard : 0 
Security Phone: 480-341-9075

Security *Emergencies Only*
(On Campus) *7 from any campus phone

Mesa Police: 
(On Campus) Dial 911 
(Off Campus) Dial 911

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