Wednesday, May 23, 2007


One thing which we have been experiencing this spring that we hardly saw last year is dust storms (bet you thought I was going to say "rockets" again, hmm?). They are called hamsin (pronounced "hom-seen"), which is Arabic for "50". Nobody really knows for sure what the connection between hamsin and "50" is, so I won't begin to speculate.

Here are a couple of pictures of a hamsin that just hit the Israeli Negev from Sinai at a speed of about 60 kph (40 mph). These photos were taken from an altitude of 8,000 ft. the sand wall was about 4,000 ft high moving from the west to the east.

We have had several already, to say the least. I don't know all of the details of how it works, but basically it is hot air blowing dust in from the desert. Usually the wind blows in from the ocean, but during a hamsin can blow the opposite way. The sky turns cloudy and orange and can last up to several days. When it is over there is a layer of fine, brown dust on everything. If you are away and leave a window open when a hamsin comes through, expect a mess inside your house when you get back.

(Our car after a rather mild dust storm)

Photos courtesy of The Augean Stables

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