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Dust storm leaves thousands in the dark

Dust storm blowing across Arizona last weekend.

A freakish dust storm plowed through Arizona last weekend.

The enormous cloud, known as a haboob – Arabic for “strong wind” – blew through Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix last Saturday, knocking out power for about 9,000 people in the region.

Though more common in the deserts of Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Australia, haboobs generally strike Arizona from June through September, during the state’s monsoon season.

The most recent haboob was nearly 2,000 feet high and 60 feet wide, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds hit 35 m.p.h. as the storm rolled across the Salt River Valley, coating everything in sight in a fine film of grit.

“It was like a scene from The Mummy or Hidalgo, with the giant sandstorms in the deserts of the Middle East,” a CNN’ “iReporter” told the network.

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